Orange County deputy shoots man accused of strangling victim, setting house on fire

Phillip Francis is in critical condition, sheriff’s office says

Deputy shoots a man at an Orange County home after they say he strangled someone inside.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an overnight shooting after they say a man strangled someone then tried to set their house on fire.

Sheriff John Mina said deputies responded to the 3400 block of Ridgemont Road Friday night to respond to a domestic violence call.

“The suspect had choked the victim, later came back and intentionally lit the house on fire and fled the scene,” Mina said.

The man was identified by deputies as 43-year-old Phillip Francis.

Investigators said several hours later, the same man returned to the home and tried to set the home on fire and fled again.

Mina said deputies were out searching for the suspect.

“We were out looking for him. We knew what kind of car he was driving and then he returned back to the scene and that’s when the incident happened,” Mina said.

Francis returned a third time just before 11 p.m., this time while deputies were at the house investigating.

Deputies said the man got out of his car, and “immediately started firing a gun at our deputies,” according to the sheriff’s office.

“He came up really fast, like intentionally want to do something and we don’t know if he was targeting the deputies at first, but when the deputies were there, ‘That’s him, that’s the car,’” Mina said. “He got out of the car immediately started firing at the deputies.”

Mina said one deputy, Deputy Sheriff William Hatch, returned fire and shot Francis.

No deputies were injured during the shooting.

Francis was taken to a hospital and is said to be in critical condition.

It’s unknown the relationship between Francis and the victim. Mina said the victim is OK.

The sheriff’s office said it has turned the case over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is standard procedure for deputy-involved shootings.

OCSO said Hatch has been with the agency since September 2016 and is on temporary, paid administrative leave pending the FDLE findings.

About the Authors:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!