Arson suspect killed in shootout

Deputies: man set fires at car lots as revenge

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - An arson investigation ended with deputies shooting and killing the suspect. Authorities say he opened fire on them in an ambush early Thursday morning.

Investigators with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office say Patrick Tillery got into an argument with the owner of Rock Bottom Auto Sales about a purchase.  In an act of revenge, he set fires at two car lots.

A Toyota was totaled at a US 19 location. The building had fire damage as well.

A Hudson location was also hit. Two vehicles were burned under a charred carport and a Corvette smashed.

Owner Mario Vavoulis says he watched the surveillance video and knew right away one of his customers was responsible.

That man was identified by the Sheriff's office as Patrick Tillery.

"He came out here, lit my vehicles on fire, tried lighting up one of my buildings," said Vavoulis.

Deputies showed up at Tillery's door on Yucca Drive in New Port Richey and his wife let them in.

She told deputies her husband wasn't home.

But according to the sheriff's office, Tillery was there, armed and waiting.

Then, authorities say, he started shooting at three deputies in a narrow hallway..

"You talk abut setting up an ambush. This was clearly an ambush on our deputies to do harm on them and kill them," said Pasco sheriff Chris Nocco.

The deputies shot back, killing Tillery, who had served time before for escape, burglary and assault.

All of this happened with several children in the next room.

"It's unbelievable that somebody did that end result and tried to killing a police officer and everything else. It's crazy," said Vavoulis.

Despite two or three shots fired at them, none of the deputies were hurt.

"It is by the grace of god they are alive. And make no mistake about it. Tillery caused this action. We just ended it," said Nocco.

The owner of Rock Bottom wouldn't say what Tillery was so upset over regarding his purchase. That is still part of the investigation.

He says damage at both his car lots could be around $60,000.

The Sheriff says Tillery's wife could also faces charges for leading deputies into what he called an ambush.

The children were taken into custody by the Child Protective Investigations division.

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