Video shows fatal shootout between Orange County deputy, strangulation suspect

Suspect killed, no deputies injured

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – New body camera footage released Monday by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office shows a shootout between a deputy and a strangulation suspect that ultimately left the accused domestic abuser dead.

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 in which he was accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend and after she went to stay elsewhere out of fear, he returned and set the home on fire.

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Deputies said after the fire, Francis returned yet again and this time saw deputies on scene.

Body camera video from Deputy Sheriff William Hatch shows him approaching Francis’ silver Infiniti in an attempt to keep him away from the victim.

Before Hatch can make his way to the driver’s side door, Francis gets out of the car and shoots twice in Hatch’s direction, according to authorities.

Hatch, who wasn’t injured, immediately returned fire.

The sheriff’s office said that portion of the video does not have sound because Hatch wasn’t able to turn on his body-worn camera until about one minute into the encounter. At that point, the camera activated and captured the 60 seconds prior but it doesn’t record sound until a minute in.

It’s unknown how many times Hatch fired his weapon or how many times Francis was shot. He was not seen again in the video after the initial gunfire.

Records show he died a week after the shooting.

After the shots were fired, another deputy rushed to help Hatch.

“You’re not hit, right?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” Hatch replied.

“Take cover, take cover,” she urged as Hatch positioned himself behind a patrol vehicle.

He then switched his handgun for a rifle before moving into a position where he could fully see Francis’ Infiniti.

“He’s down in the driveway,” Hatch said.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said last month that the shooting unfolded very quickly.

“(Francis) came up really fast, like intentionally (wanting) 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 (and) immediately started firing at the deputies.”

Deputies were in the process of drafting an arrest warrant for Francis due to the escalating violence. The victim and her family were trying to salvage belongings from the burned home.

Before the fatal shootout, Francis’ ex-girlfriend had sought an injunction in December 2020 seeking protection.

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.

Hatch was placed on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates, which is standard procedure for deputy-involved shootings.

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