A Canadian man has been arrested in Colombia after he repeatedly punched a police officer in the head and tried grabbing his handgun at an airport.
Authorities said Vince Tony Sozio walked up to officer Jhon Lagarcha and started punching him at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá on Tuesday morning.
Footage shows the 34-year-old tourist slugging Lagarcha across the face before a group of men stepped forward and helped restrain him.
The reason for the attack was not immediately clear and Sozio was taken for a psychiatric evaluation.
A woman in the background can be heard shouting, ‘Why are more cops coming?’ Another shouted, ‘What’s going on? Respect the authority, how dare you?’
Cops escort Vince Tony Sozio, who was arrested Tuesday morning after he assaulted a police officer during a failed attempt to take his gun away at El Dorado International Airport
Bystanders at Colombia’s El Dorado International Airport keep their distance while police officer Jhon Lagarcha (left) is assaulted by Vince Tony Sozio (right)
El Dorado police station director, colonel Augusto Gil, told reporters that Sozio arrived in Colombia on July 4.
He did not have any luggage or a return flight ticket, but was holding on to a pet dog when he suddenly assaulted Lagarcha.
Gil said said that Sozio was on the second floor of the terminal when he crossed paths with Lagarcha and turned around to grab his gun.
He added that Sozio would be undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.
Canadian national Vince Tony Sozio fights police officer Jhon Lagarcha during an attempt to take his gun away at a terminal in El Dorado International Airport on Tuesday. The 34-year-old was taken into custody pending charges
Good Samaritans jumped into action to stop a Canadian man from taking a police officer’s gun at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, Colombia, on Tuesday morning
Bogotá Metropolitan Police chief, general William Salamanca, applauded the brave Good Samaritans for jumping into action and preventing Sozio from grabbing control of Lagarcha’s service weapon.
‘We do not know what generated the reaction of this citizen to try to take the weapon from the police officer,’ he said. ‘Have to praise the reaction of the community, the solidarity of the community.’
Former Bogotá mayor, Enrique Peñalosa, took to Twitter to condemn Sozio’s behavior.
‘In a serious country, hitting a police officer or a public official who serves the public, results in several months in jail,’ he wrote.
Sozio is facing an assault charge, although a court hearing date has not been set.
He could be sentenced between four to eight years in prison if he is found guilty.