Officers, citizen awarded for response after suspect ambushes officers with brick

The September incident was streamed on Facebook Live

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two officers and a citizen were awarded on Wednesday for their efforts in assisting law enforcement officials during a September incident when they were attacked by a suspect with a brick.

Officers Michael Zambito and Stephen Hurt were seen standing alongside Robert Butler during the Fourth Quarter awards ceremony, hosted by the Orlando Police Department.

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The trio received OPD’s highest honor, the Award of Valor. Butler, a civilian, also received the Good Citizenship award.

The initial attack was streamed live on Facebook back in September by the 27-year-old suspect William McClish, who is accused of ambushing the officers.

Butler, a 30-year Winter Garden police veteran, explained Zambito is his nephew by marriage and wanted to check in while he and Hurt were on downtown detail.

He added that the incident happened in an instant.

“And then out of the clear blue sky … his arm comes, out of my peripheral vision, I didn’t know what he had in his hand before he hit the officer in his head,” Butler said of the suspect who attacked them.

Investigators said during the attack, Zambito tried to get McClish off of Hurt.

“The defendant was still actively fighting and as he pulled back on the defendant’s neck, the defendant bit his right bicep, slipped his head out of Officer (Hurt’s) grip, and began gouging Officer (Hurt’s) left eye with his fingers. Officer (Hurt) pulled the defendant’s hand down and bit it to stop the defendant from gouging his eyes out,” they said.

Shortly after, Butler stepped in to assist.

“I layed across his hamstrings and I just grabbed both legs at the knees so he couldn’t kick or use leverage on the sidewalk,” Butler said.

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said although he applauds the efforts to restrain McClish, he’s also calling on the courts to do their part.

“We need to watch our state’s attorney’s office and judicial system prosecute these types of cases … these individuals (do) not belong outside with our regular society members,” Rolon said.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.