Suspect has gun turned on him, holes up in I-Drive motel, deputies say
By Lauren Johnson, Reporter -
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
An attempted armed robbery suspect who had his weapon turned on him barricaded himself inside an International Drive motel room, forcing the motel's evacuation, authorities said Thursday.
Seven people, mostly juveniles, who were in the motel room have been detained, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.
At about 2 a.m., officers say the suspect approached a vehicle and aimed a gun in the face of a female driver a few blocks from the Econolodge on the 7200 block of I-Drive.
But deputies say the driver and her male passenger turned the tables on the suspect after the passenger in the vehicle snatched the weapon.
"He walked up on foot and put a gun in the face of a female driver. The male passenger actually grabbed the gun out of the suspects hand," said Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jeff Williamson.
The suspect then fled on foot to the Econolodge.
SWAT officers and fire rescue then responded to the scene, where the suspect had holed himself up in a first-floor room. Officers brought in heavy equipment to knock down the door, but the suspects surrendered just before the officers were about to force their way in.
"We were about to make a tactical entry into the room. They were putting some pressure on the door, and they didn't make a full entry, but there was enough commotion outside the door for the folks inside to come out, rather than to make a foolish move," said Williamson.
Inside the room were seven juveniles from Polk County, the Sheriff's Office said.
"We're talking to schools, we're talking to parents, we're talking to a number of people in Polk County to determine who these persons are," Williamson said. "We want to know what their involvement was in this robbery, why they fled into this room and why they didn't come out when we made our initial encounter with them several hours ago."
Several of those detained have previous histories with law enforcement, the Sheriff's Office said. All seven were questioned by investigators, and 17-year-old boy who was identified by witnesses was arrested and charged with armed robbery.
Motel guests were then allowed to return to their rooms.