By KEITH MORELLI | The Tampa Tribune
Published: December 5, 2008
PLANT CITY - An effort by more than 400 law enforcement officers from local, county and state agencies paid off late this afternoon.
The search for a slaying suspect that paralyzed Plant City for most of the day and led to the death of a bystander ended shortly before 3:45 p.m. with the capture of 25-year-old Fransisco Rangel.
The manhunt shut down streets, locked down schools and even forced the cancellation of the annual Christmas parade, a Plant City tradition.
He was charged with one count each of first-degree murder and second-degree murder. He also faces five counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, one count of attempted murder and four counts of shooting at, within or into a vehicle.
The gunman fired at least 17 shots at the detectives from an AK-47 rifle.
The number of shots fired by detectives was unknown, he said.
The day began shortly after sun-up with a shootout involving five Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives and Rangel, who was wanted in connection with a slaying Thursday, authorities said.
Detectives spotted a white Ford Expedition driven by Rangel about 7:45 a.m. and gave chase.
Winsett said the chase stopped abruptly. Rangel "slammed on his brakes, exited the vehicle and fired several more times at our detectives," Winsett said. "The detectives returned fire, and the subject got back in the vehicle and continued to flee."
One of the patrol cars was hit six times, and two others were hit at least three times each, deputies said.
A passer-by pulled up to deputies at the scene after the gunman fled. In the car was a passenger who had been hit by a bullet, Winsett said.
The gunshot victim, Candelario Lagunes, 58, was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he died, Winsett said. "He was hit by one of the rounds fired by the suspect."