Orange County sheriff's Sgt. Richard Stelter shot; suspect dead

Shooting happened at Park Central Apartment Complex on Americana Boulevard

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager , Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orange County sheriff's deputy was shot Tuesday in Orlando by a convicted felon, officials said.

Sheriff Jerry Demings said Sgt. Richard "Rick" Stelter, 45, was shot multiple times while serving an arrest warrant for 20-year-old shooting suspect Christopher Redding.

The deputy was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where a fellow law enforcement officer later said, "He's awake." The deputy is in stable condition, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"He's about a 21-year veteran of our agency," Demings said. "From what I could see he has some hand injuries and shot in the arm and may have been shot multiple times in other places."

Stelter and other deputies in the Investigative Surveillance Squad attempted to arrest Redding at Park Central Apartment Complex on Americana Boulevard in Orlando at 11:42 a.m. in connection with three recent robberies against elderly people, Demings said.

When deputies encountered Redding inside a vehicle, he began firing at the deputies, shooting Stelter multiple times, Demings said. Four deputies returned fire, shooting and killing Redding.

"When the deputy encountered this individual, he was in a vehicle," Demings said. "They tried to tactically park him. At that time, the subject began firing at the deputies first. The deputies returned fire. The subject was able to shoot one of my deputy sheriffs."

Demings said Redding had a violent history, including a conviction of attempted murder at 17 years old.

"He served three years in the Deptartment of Corrections and was released sometime within the recent past," Demings said. "Shortly after being released he got into even further violent crime. Today the violent tendencies led to his death." 

A woman and two infants were inside the vehicle with the Redding. The woman received minor injuries during the incident, Demings said. The 4-month-old boy and 1-year-old girl were turned over to their grandmother, deputies said.

Orange County Detective Michael Mandarano said the suspect and three other men targeted women, violently stealing their purses and throwing the victims to the ground.

"They all involve women," Mandarano said. "Two of them were elderly and the suspects, or one of them, snatched purses off the women and two of them, they caused significant injuries to their shoulders."

One victim required a shoulder replacement, Mandarano said.

One of the purse snatching incidents happened at Mall at Millennia and another at the Florida Mall.

Read more about the purse snatching incidents here

Deming said he had visited Stelter in the hospital and that he was in "relatively good spirits."

"We're very, very confident he's in the best hands possible," Demings said.

Stelter has been with the Sheriff's Office since 1996 and is married with three children.

The deputies involved in the shooting were reassigned to administrative duties pending the Florida Department of Law investigation of the incident, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting.

The shooting comes more than a month after Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton was slain in the line of duty, and Orange County sheriff's Deputy Norman Lewis was killed in a crash during a manhunt for her accused killer.

Follow live updates from the hospital and the crime scene below:

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