ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — Three deputies and a suspect were taken to the hospital with burns Sunday night after a gas pump burst into flames as deputies were taking the suspect down, according to the Osceola County sheriff’s office.
Exactly what sparked those flames is unclear.
Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said they got reports that a group of motorcyclists were popping wheelies and pointing firearms at other people on the roadway along Donegan Avenue in Kissimmee.
Deputies tried to stop the motorcyclists but they fled.
The sheriff’s helicopter followed one of the suspects to the Wawa at 3951 Central Florida Parkway.
Deputies terminated the pursuit some time after the suspect fled, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. They say they later received information that the suspect was at the Wawa gas station refueling.
Deputies arrived shortly after and as they were closing in on the suspect, one of the gas pumps burst into flames.
A man whose red SUV was at the gas pump said he had to quickly pull his seven children out of his car. Fortunately, they were not hurt.
That man told us he believes what sparked the fire was the deployment of a taser by the deputies. But Lopez said he just can’t say yet if that’s true or not.
“I heard ‘get on the ground. Get on the ground!’ We heard tasers going off, so I don’t know. I pretty much think the taser is what struck the fire, so the whole pump caught on fire,” Demetrius Stanley, a witness, said.
“We’re still investigating why the flames took place and it’s something that we’re looking into right now. I don’t have a lot of details on that,” Lopez said.
Lopez said until the investigation is complete and he has a chance to look at the deputies’ body cam video, he can’t comment on exactly what happened at the gas pump.
As for the deputies who were burned, two were treated and released. One remains hospitalized and his condition is unknown. The Osceola deputies involved were identified as David Crawford, Christopher Koffinas and Ben Maclean.
All of them suffered burns, 2 were treated and released, one was in the hospital last night, condition unknown
The suspect, who has been identified as 26-year-old John Beretta, remains in the hospital as well. His condition is also unknown.