Armed suspect fatally shot during Eustis standoff

Hostages were held in a showdown between cops and a man with a gun. When it was all over, the suspect was dead.

It wasn’t the alarm that woke Patty Fox Thursday morning.

“A bang, a loud shot, that's how I woke up,” said Patty Fox, of Eustis.

She lives across the street from a home in Eustis where the Lake County Sheriff’s Office says Tracy Richards held his estranged wife and her brother hostage Thursday. Authorities say Richards was upset about the separation from his wife, Wendy.

“I do know that Eustis came out here about two weeks ago when the separation began and apparently he had gone through the residence and tore the house apart,” said Lake County Sheriff spokesperson Lt. John Herrell.

The Sheriff’s Office says after hours of trying to convince Richards to leave the home, he finally did, running behind a shopping plaza with a gun in his hand.

“There was a sniper laying on the roof over there,” said Fox. 

They say Richards had nowhere else to run, blocked in by a fence. He held a gun to his head and then, “at that point with his gun in his hand, he charged at them aggressively yelling at them 06 and that's when they shot to defend themselves,” said Lt. Herrell. 

Richards was killed. Five deputies are now on administrative leave with pay.

“It's not going to get better. It's only getting worse. what can we do? Pray,” said neighbor Tanya Smith.
“I'm shaking still. It's kind of just scary. Right next door and you walk by this guy everyday and he's out there I guess,” said Fox. 

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office tells Fox 35 Richards was evaluated by authorities a few weeks ago, after the incident where he vandalized the home, but at the time, they did not find that he was a legitimate threat to himself.