SANFORD, Fla. – A man hid in the trunk of his estranged wife's car at a Chili's restaurant in Lake Mary, where he fatally stabbed her and ran her and two others over before he killed their two children, ages 1 and 4, and himself, according to Seminole County sheriff's officials.
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Deputies said Henry Brown, 30, laid in wait for Chericia Brown, 31, and stabbed her when she left the restaurant around 10 p.m. Sunday. A few minutes later, Henry Brown returned to the restaurant and ran her over with his car, deputies said. Two good Samaritans trying to help Chericia Brown were also hit by Brown’s car, according to deputies.
Chericia Brown was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, where she died, officials said. One of the two who helped Chericia Brown remains hospitalized; the other was released from the hospital.
According to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, Henry Brown then drove to an apartment complex in Altamonte Springs, where he changed vehicles and picked up the couple’s children, a 4-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl, from a babysitter (pictured below with Brown's children).
Around 12:25 a.m., Brown drove a pickup truck to Central Florida Regional Hospital in an attempt to find his estranged wife, according to authorities. Seminole County deputies and Sanford police officers confronted him, and Brown fired at the officers as he ran out of the hospital. Deputies returned fire, but no one was hit or injured during the exchange, officials said.
Brown drove onto I-4, where he was located near the Seminole-Volusia county line by deputies minutes later. Deputies used stop sticks to slow Brown's vehicle, and when it came to a stop, authorities found Brown and his two children dead inside, officials said.
Investigators said it's believed that Brown killed his children at some point after picking them up, and then committed suicide in his vehicle as law enforcement prepared to apprehend him.
Deputies said Brown had been in a months-long domestic dispute with his wife.
"The information was, as we backtracked, we found out later that this was a marriage that had gone wrong," a sheriff's official said. "Somewhere in December of last year there was a domestic battery that was reported in Altamonte Springs. Ultimately, the injunction was held by Mrs. Brown, and it was issued in January and the relationship was rocky every since."
The injunction had Chericia Brown in her own handwriting telling a judge her estranged husband threatened to kill her, writing that he told her,"I will personally kill you, one day you leave your job or walk down the street. You won't even know it."
Documents also show Chericia Brown told police her husband abused her and hit her. Officers responded to calls for services but never arresting Henry Brown, writing in the report that "the fear of further violence does not exist."
Court documents say Child Protective Services had an investigation at one point. Brown was arrested in November for trying to run away from deputies at a traffic stop.
Neighbors said they were in disbelief when they heard the news.
"I saw it on the news, and I was just like, 'What could make somebody want to do that to their wife and two kids?'" said a neighbor who added that she saw Brown's children playing outside a couple of days ago. "He seemed like a loving dad when I saw him with them."
I-4 was shut down for hours near the St. Johns River Bridge overnight but reopened hours later.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the officer-involved shooting that occurred at the hospital.
Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates on this developing story.