Strangulation suspect dies week after being shot by Orange County deputy

Phillip Francis accused of shooting at law enforcement officers

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.A strangulation suspect, who fired at deputies twice and in return was shot, has died more than a week after the deputy-involved shooting, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Records show Phillip Francis, 43, arrived at his ex-girlfriend’s home on Ridgemont Road the night of Feb. 6 as deputies were already there investigating an earlier domestic violence incident.

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Deputy Sheriff William Hatch saw the suspect’s silver Infiniti pull up, so he got out of his marked patrol car to approach Francis before he could reach the victim, according to the affidavit.

The report said Francis got out of his vehicle, turned toward Hatch and “immediately fired two rounds at him from a handgun.”

Hatch returned fire, striking Francis an unknown number of times. He was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition and died as a result of his injuries on Saturday.

Hatch is on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the shooting, which is standard procedure.

Hours before the shooting on Feb. 6, Francis is accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend, causing the woman to be so afraid that she went to stay elsewhere.

Deputies said while she was gone, Francis returned to the home, set it on fire and stole a safe containing a gun.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said deputies were trying to locate Francis before the deputy-involved shooting.

“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.

Orange County court records show the ex-girlfriend filed a petition for protection from dating violence against Francis on Dec. 16, 2020, stating their relationship had ended and Francis would not leave her alone.

In the 12-page petition, the ex-girlfriend wrote Francis had “sent threatening texts and excessive phone calls which led to my car being vandalized.”

The petition included a photo of a damaged steering column and a screenshot of text messages that read, “i going to pull up on u so u better call opd cause am done playing,” and “Just know when i make a call, (expletive) happens if u forget and as we speak am making calls night.”

A judge denied the restraining order petition ruling, “the petitioner has failed to allege facts sufficient to support the entry of an injunction for protection... because destruction of property does not constitute an act of violence... uncivil even threatening behaviors do not constitute acts of violence under Florida statues.”

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