Sheriff: Victim strangled, suspect set home on fire before shootout with deputies
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A burned-out shell of a house stood on Ridgemont Road in Orlando, the aftermath of a frightening scene that played out on Friday afternoon and evening.
"It was a real scary moment, real scary moment," a neighbor said, "thank god for the officers that was here."
Deputies say this all started around 5 p.m. Friday afternoon when the suspect, identified as 43-year-old Phillip Francis, showed up at the victim's house and strangled her. After that he left, only to come back and set the house on fire.
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"While our deputies and detectives were still there investigating, the suspect returned in his vehicle, got out of his car, and started firing at our deputies," explained Orange County Sheriff John Mina.
Deputies shot back, hitting Francis. He was taken to ORMC in critical condition. His gun was left on the ground after the shooting, and a car on the street was left riddled with bullet holes.
"He came up really fast, like intentionally wanted to do something. We don't know if he was targeting the deputies at first, but when the deputies were there, like that's him, that's the car, he got out of the car and immediately started firing at the deputy," Mina said.
The woman he strangled wasn't seriously hurt. The sheriff's office also said none of their deputies was injured. A neighbor said it was usually a quiet community.
"Yeah, it's fairly quiet. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody works. Not too many incidents happen here."
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