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4 people dead, 2 deputies injured in Tampa area shootout

SHARE 4 people dead, 2 deputies injured in Tampa area shootout

TAMPA, Fla. — Three people were found dead in a home on Saturday, and a man spotted fleeing the scene was shot and killed after he fired at two sheriff's deputies pursuing him, authorities said.

Deputies had caught up to the suspect about a mile and a half from the house when he shot from his vehicle and wounded the deputies, authorities said. He then got out of the truck and attacked one of the deputies before a third officer shot and killed the suspect.

Hillsborough County sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway said investigators were searching for a motive in the deaths of those found fatally shot in the home.

Neighbor John Mullins told The Tampa Tribune he heard shooting from across a privacy fence. His wife, Vernetta Mullins, saw a man flee in a red pickup truck, she said.

"After the shooting, he came out with a gun in his hand with a white towel draped over it," she told the newspaper. She then called 911.

The suspect, who has not been named, had lived on and off at the house and had a relationship with at least one of the female victims, Callaway said.

The bodies of Gina Marie Lamantia-Bello, 44, who was renting the house, and Chris Artigas, 45, were found. Regina Ann Coffaro, 44, was taken to a hospital, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Artigas, a captain and 23-year veteran of the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, was married with two sons and a daughter.

"We're all saddened in Hillsborough County Fire Rescue by this loss," said Chief Bill Nesmith. "He was a well-respected, well-rounded individual who did an excellent job for us for 23 years."

Marvin Kinsler said he knew the suspect and described him as a nice, outgoing person.

"He was one of those people who would say, 'If you need something, just ask,"' Kinsler said. "I still can't imagine him doing that."

The wounded deputies were taken to a hospital and underwent surgery.

Both of the veteran deputies were in fair condition. Deputy Ray Wilson, 55, who fought with the suspect, was shot in the arm. Deputy Art Lence, 53, was hit in the lower torso, with the bullet exiting through his back.