Florida police unleashed a barrage of deadly gunfire after they say a suspect fired a bullet that grazed a deputy’s head
Theresa Waldrop and Shawn Nottingham, CNN
Published at | Updated at
(CNN) — A carjacking suspect in Florida was shot dead in a barrage of police gunfire Thursday after he fired a bullet that tore through a sheriff’s deputy’s hat and grazed his head, authorities said.
Phillip Thomas Marsh, 30, carjacked a woman’s truck at gunpoint at a home Deltona, Florida, then led deputies on an extended chase, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
After hitting several tire-deflation devices, the truck slowed. Marsh got out and, holding a handgun, ran toward motorists stopped near him, the sheriff’s office said. A deputy then drove an SUV in Marsh’s direction, “preventing him from reaching another potential carjacking victim,” the sheriff’s office said.
Marsh then opened fire on deputies, grazing Sgt. Thomas Dane’s hat and head, it said.
Five deputies returned fire, hitting Marsh several times, the sheriff’s office said. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
The suspect had been ‘reported … suicidal’
The suspect had been “reported missing and suicidal” earlier in the week, the sheriff’s office said. “It was noted he was known to act violently toward law enforcement and has made threats of ‘suicide by cop’ and suicide by other means,” the release said.
“Clearly, his actions, when he came out of that vehicle, he wanted us to shoot him, and he was going to take one of us with him,” Sheriff Michael J. Chitwood told reporters.
A seven-minute video posted at the sheriff’s website shows the suspect exiting the truck, then running toward drivers stopped at the scene as he points a gun at his head. It then shows the deputy’s SUV move toward Marsh, who can be seen running in the other direction, toward a wooded area, and firing his gun in the direction of the deputies, who then fire at him.
Marsh fired three or four shots, Chitwood said, including the one that pierced Dane’s hat and grazed his head.
A “millimeter lower, and Sgt. Dane is dead,” said Chitwood, who described the day as his luckiest in 32 years of policing.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting the official investigation into the shooting, the release states. Those who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard following a deputy-involved shooting.
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