BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) – A Bradenton police officer is sharing his horrifying account after a burglar tried to gouge his eyes out.
It was an attack caught on surveillance cameras.
Lt. William Weldon’s injuries are still quite evident. His eyes are bloodshot and there are dark marks above his cheeks. The man is lucky he still has his vision after a vicious attack.
“I was afraid for my life,” recalled Lt. Weldon.
Early Sunday morning, Weldon responded to a tripped alarm at a jewelry store when he encountered the burglar, 23-year-old Issac Dubon.
“He wouldn’t comply, but I could see that he didn’t have anything in his hands, so he was unarmed at the moment that I saw, so I wasn’t going to fire on an unarmed man, so I put my handgun, weapon away,” described Lt. Weldon.
But instead, Dubon fought back and during the long struggle, he attempted to gouge Weldon’s eyes and steal his gun.
“His fingers were going into my eye sockets,” said Weldon.
“My life was in danger and I needed to do whatever I could do to get out there alive.”
Weldon kept fighting.
“I feel I would’ve been justified in shooting him, but deadly force is to be used as a last resort and I had one other resort that I could’ve used and I used it. If that resort didn’t work, then there’s a chance that I would’ve used lethal force,” Weldon said.
Once Weldon broke free, Dubon was about to lunge at him again.
“I was seeing multiple images of him so I didn’t know exactly where I was at, so you see me waving my hand back and forth [on the video],” he said
Weldon pistol whipped Dubon, then as backup finally arrived, he rested out of pain and exhaustion.
“It’s easy to sit back and look at a video and say ‘well, I could’ve done this I could’ve done that,’ but in the heat of the moment, you got milliseconds to make decisions and you make the best decision you can at the moment,” said Weldon.
“We don’t come to work thinking we’re gonna have to shoot somebody or we want to shoot somebody, so anytime that you can get into a fight like this and you walk away, both people walk away, then it’s always a good day,” he added.
Dubon is an illegal immigrant from Honduras. He has no prior criminal, but he’s now a suspect in a number of other crimes in the area. The federal government has detained him at the Manatee County Jail.
Police Chief Melanie Bevan is incredibly proud of Lt. Weldon. She commended him because he was willing to come back to work the next day. She gave him some much needed time off to recover and spend time with his family.
She believes this terrible attack should have never happened. She is furious at Slomin’s Security, the company responsible for the security system.
Officials say Slomin’s Security contacted the Bradenton Police Department about the tripped alarm. However, they described that it was a general burglary alarm. They also said the key holder was on site, had given the proper codes and was still there, wishing to speak with police. That’s why Lt. Weldon came to the scene alone.
“He arrived under the assumption that this was a call, a standard call of a homeowner who had tripped the alarm system. He was under the assumption that it was a false alarm and so he approached by himself,” described Bradenton Police spokesman Lt. Brian Thiers.
Once Lt. Weldon arrived, he realized all of that information was incorrect. This was not a home, it was a business. It was not an accidental tripped alarm, it was a burglary in progress with a violent man inside.
“Errors on their part almost resulted in a catastrophic event and we don’t take that lightly and we’re going to hold them responsible for that,” said Bevan.
Bevan contacted Slomin’s Security and demanded an investigation. She is relieved her officer is alive, but she feels the company’s mistake nearly cost his life.
Slomin’s Security has not responded to News Channel 8’s request for comment.