Gunman Takes Hostages at a Gun Range?
TAMPA -- A Tampa man killed himself early Friday, leaving unhurt the three remaining hostages he held at gunpoint during a 10-hour standoff.
At a 3:30 a.m. news conference, Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee announced that Jeffrey Lane Dudney, 43, had shot himself inside Shooting Sports Inc., an indoor range and gun shop at 7811 N Dale Mabry Highway. Two other hostages had been released during the night.
Deputies closed the highway Thursday evening, causing a traffic nightmare, but the six-lane road was open for the Friday morning commute. Gee said he would not release the hostages' names until the investigation ended.
Here is how events unfolded, according to the sheriff:
At 4:45 p.m. Thursday, a range employee called 9-1-1 to report that Dudney, of 2210 Belle Chase Circle, was robbing the store.
Deputies reported hearing shots fired when they responded minutes later, but it turned out that patrons unaware of the robbery were still practicing in the range. Meanwhile, two customers had fled out the front door while others confronted Dudney.
Somehow, he ended up with five hostages: the woman who manages the range, a male employee and three male customers. Dudney had planned to steal a gun and flee Tampa, Gee said.
Tampa police arrested Dudney on April 6 on three counts of attempted first-degree murder. Police said he hit another car while driving under the influence and fled. When the unhurt passengers of the car he hit followed and confronted him, he threatened them with a .38 caliber pistol. He fired at their car as they tried to flee, shattering the rear window and injuring two passengers with shards of glass.
Jail records show Dudney was free on $150,500 bond. Soon, an army of law-enforcement officers had descended on Dale Mabry. Because Dudney had threatened to kill hostages if he saw even one police car, deputies closed the six-lane highway between Waters Avenue and Lambright Street.
About 200 deputies, Tampa police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents surrounded the building and diverted the river of traffic. Every few minutes, for the next 10 hours, Dudney threatened to kill the hostages one by one. Periodically, he would order four hostages to lie prone and bring the fifth to the door as a human shield.
"He was very agitated, very amped up," the sheriff said. The building made the tactical situation more difficult, Gee said. "It was basically a fortress. From a tactical standpoint it was probably the most difficult. The doors were welded and the windows were tinted. He could see out, but we couldn't see in."
At one point during the night, Dudney asked for medication in exchange for a hostage. A robot brought the information that deputies retrieved from his car and provided it to him. Hostage John Murray of Seffner was released. Negotiations continued, sheriff's officials said, and about 1:30 a.m. Dudney released a second hostage, Timothy Bechard of Tampa.
Officials said Dudney's demeanor moved from calm and cooperative to agitated and angry while making threats to shoot hostages. About 3 a.m. Dudney fired a single gunshot to his head, killing himself. The three remaining hostages walked out of the business. They were William "Chris" Perez, Mark G. Little and Margaret Flesche, all of Tampa. Little and Flesche were employees of the business.
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