MONTREAL - It took a bloody fight and a three-hour manhunt early Sunday morning for Florida police to arrest Justin Bresaw, who is wanted in Quebec for allegedly murdering three people after setting a house on fire.
Tallahassee police spokesman Dave Northway told QMI Agency that the arresting officer, Sgt. Samuel Gereg, "is no less than a hero."
Bresaw allegedly attacked Gereg and the two wrestled on the ground. Gereg suffered a broken nose and a cut to his face.
"Sgt. Gereg worked as hard as he could," Northway said. "Even after he was injured, he continued to fight with (Bresaw)."
Bresaw eventually broke away and ran into the woods, only to be caught three hours later after a canine unit-assisted manhunt through the Tallahassee woods.
Bresaw is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson after a house fire killed three people on Sept. 17, in Amos, Que., about 600 km north of Montreal.
Firefighters found 70-year-old Rene Deschatelets, his wife, Diane Duhaime, and a third person, dead in the ashes of the home.
Deschatelets' daughter, Josée, told QMI Agency in September that Bresaw had been renting a room in her parents' house and her father kicked Bresaw out a few days before the fire.
It is unclear how or why Bresaw travelled to the Floridian capital of Tallahassee, almost 2,700 km south of the deadly September fire.
Bresaw was stealing electricity from a church to power a laptop at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday in Tallahassee when he was spotted by Gereg, according Gereg's incident report, obtained by QMI Agency.
The officer ran Bresaw's name through the Florida police database and discovered the suspect was wanted by Interpol.
Bresaw allegedly hit Gereg after the officer grabbed his arm to detain him. The two fought and Gereg's face hit a metal pole, causing a broken nose and cut to his face.
After fighting with the officer, Bresaw fled on foot and was caught three hours later hiding under the deck of a home in a residential area of Tallahassee.
Northway said Bresaw is being held in the Leon County Sherriff's Office, awaiting a Monday court appearance. Tallahassee police arrested Bresaw for battery on an officer, resisting arrest with violence and resisting arrest without violence. The charges carry a cumulative 11-year-sentence, Northway said.
Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Christine Coulombe told QMI Agency that "extradition measures are underway, (Bresaw) should eventually return to (Canada) to face justice."
However, it is unclear if Bresaw will have to face justice in Florida first.
QMI Agency was unable to reach the Florida State Attorney's Office for comment on Sunday.
- With files from Elizabeth Laplante