▶ Watch Video: Security guards stop armed man wearing devil mask from entering Florida strip club

Three “heroic” security guards are being praised after surveillance video captured them stopping an armed man wearing a devil mask from entering a Florida strip club, potentially saving “dozens of lives,” the Tampa Police Department said Tuesday.

Police said the suspect, identified as 44-year-old Michael Rudman, arrived at Mons Venus on Sunday wearing a red and black devil mask with the words “Kill” and “Dark One” written on his arms. The suspect is seen in the surveillance footage walking toward the entrance of the strip club with what police said was a fully loaded firearm in one hand and a flashlight in the other. 

One of the security guards noticed the firearm and knocked the weapon out of the suspect’s hand. The guard then picked up the gun and pointed it at the suspect, but rather than back down, he attempted to grab the gun back. A struggle then ensued with three guards attempting to hold Rudman and pin him to the ground. One of the guards suffered minor injuries during the incident, police said. 

A single round from Rudman’s gun also struck the front door of the venue, police added, but it was unclear who fired the gun. No one was wounded by the gunfire.

Police eventually arrived and took Rudman into custody. They found two additional loaded magazines in his pocket and more ammunition, knives and firearm holsters in his truck, police said. Tampa Police interim Chief Lee Bercaw said in a statement that they will continue to investigate the thwarted incident and praised the efforts to stop Rudman. 

“There is no question that the security guards who disarmed this suspect saved dozens of lives through their heroic acts, and I am thankful our officers were able to take this individual into custody before he had a chance to carry out whatever he had planned,” Bercaw said. 

Rudman was booked into Falkenburg Road Jail and faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm while under a risk protection order, police said.

Police said his motive is under investigation and noted that Rudman was allegedly at the venue the night prior.