CASSELBERRY, Fla. – Two Casselberry police officers were injured in a shootout early today after responding to a domestic violence call at a home on Crestview Drive, reported the Orlando Sentinel.
The suspect was later found dead inside the home; it is unclear whether his gunshot was self-inflicted or if officers shot him.
The two officers had minor injuries. Both were treated at a hospital and released.
“My officers acted admirably when faced with this situation,” Casselberry Police Chief Larry Krantz said at a news conference this morning.
The police department responded to a domestic disturbance at the home sometime before 4:00 a.m. Upon arrival they were greeted by someone appearing from the house firing a shotgun. Officers returned fire and then retreated, Krantz said.
“Make no mistake about it, this was a deadly force encounter,” Krantz said.
Police evacuated people from nearby homes as SWAT officers responded. Neighbor Billy Raye Carson Jr. was sleeping when he heard what he thought were fireworks. When he opened his front door he was met with bursts of gunfire two doors down.
“They were just blindly shooting at the house and started shouting for me to get back inside,” Carson Jr. said.
He indicated that he watched the shooting unfold from his doorway, and saw the officers get injured.
“All I could think was to get me and my roommates down and away from the windows,” he said.
Carson Jr. said he saw one officer with blood on his face. Another was carried away by fellow law enforcement. He said he’s friends with the suspect, who hasn’t been identified.
Carson Jr. said the suspect was a World War II vet who was always relaxing on his front porch.
He said they talk frequently. As far as he knew there were no signs the suspect or his wife were having difficulties.
Wife made it to safety
Krantz said the suspect’s wife was at the house but apparently left before the shooting began. Police are interviewing her now. Neither the suspect nor his wife has been identified.
Margaret Daly, 28, said officers from a slew of agencies were there, including Sanford, Winter Springs, Casselberry and Seminole County.
She said all of the officers had long guns.
“It was like one batch of gunfire, then a little bit later there was more,” Daly said. “…There’s just so many cops here. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating, Krantz said.