Video shows fireball erupt at gas station as Osceola deputies attempt to arrest suspect

Incident started when group of motorcyclists were pointing guns at civilians, deputies say

A new video of an inferno near a gas pump at a Wawa in Orange County was released by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said three deputies and a suspect were taken to a hospital after suffering burns when a fire sparked near a gas pump on Central Florida Parkway during an attempted arrest.

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The deputies injured were David Crawford (10 years of service), Christopher Koffinas (6 years) and Ben Maclean (2 years).

One of the deputies is still in the hospital and the man they were attempting to arrest is also in the hospital.

The suspect was identified by deputies as 26-year-old John Beretta. Deputies said the incident started when people called 911, saying a group of motorcyclists was pointing guns at civilians.

After an attempted traffic stop near Donegan Avenue, Beretta fled, deputies said. The pursuit of Beretta was terminated, but deputies later found out from a chopper he went to refuel at the Wawa gas station located at 3951 Central Florida Parkway in Orange County, deputies said.

During an attempted arrest at the gas station, a pump caught fire, which caused the three deputies and Beretta to suffer burns and be hospitalized.

Two of the deputies hospitalized have since been released, according to deputies.

“It happened so fast,” said Demetrius Stanley, a witness. “Police cars just came in flying.”

Stanley was at the Wawa with his family when he saw several deputies swarm this gas station.

“I had to snatch the kids back real fast,” he said.

Turns out, those deputies were from Osceola County, working to track down at least one of their suspects.

“They were telling the guy, ‘get on the ground, get on the ground,’ and they wrestling the guy down,” Stanley said.

Stanley said he heard a taser go off.

“All of a sudden, we saw a big flame going in the air,” he said.

Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said the reason why the pump caught fire is still being investigated. Lopez hasn’t confirmed that a taser played a role.

The video first shows a deputy tackling Beretta. During the commotion, a fire ignites near a gas pump. At this time it is unclear what sparked the fire. The video also shows a man rolling on the floor covered in flames.

It goes on to show another person running toward the fire with an extinguisher to put out the flames.

“His whole side of his body, all the way down was completely melted,” Bruno said.

A report released by the Orange County Fire Rescue showed one deputy was severely burned on both legs. The report also shows a second person was taken to the Orlando Regional Medical Center with burns to 50 percent of his legs.

About the Authors:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.