Plant City, FL – A Florida business owner with a violent criminal record shot two men in his office on Monday afternoon, before a fourth man entered the room and fatally shot him in the head, police said.
Bliss Enterprises president Richard Paul Bliss, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other men sustained gunshot wounds, and were rushed to a local hospital.
Bliss Enterprises sits on a tract of land that encompasses a private residence, small corporate offices, several barns, and at least one rental home, investigators said.
Prior to the shootout, Duncan and one of his relatives went to Bliss’s office to discuss an ongoing dispute over a rental property.
“It was over being on the property,” Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Colonel Donna Lusczynski told WFLA. “They were staying on the property here and they had asked them to leave several times.”
As the discussion among Bliss, Duncan, and Duncan’s relative escalated, Bliss pulled a gun and shot both men, police said, according to WFTS.
Duncan’s other relative, who had been waiting outside the office, ran into the room, and shot Bliss in the head, killing him.
Bliss died inside his office, and Duncan died at a local hospital on Monday night, police said.
Deputies said that the man who shot Bliss was being interviewed by investigators, and that he had not been charged, WFLA reported.
Col. Lusczynski said that the dispute between the men had been going on for several weeks, and that deputies were continuing to investigate whether or not law enforcement had been notified about the growing animosity prior to the shooting.
“We’re still trying to get the timing of that because some calls went to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and some went to ours,” she said. “So we’re working out those details, but that’s something we want to determine.”
Bliss Enterprises, a family-owned barn construction company, is situated on property that lies in both counties.
According to WFTS, Bliss had served time in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and had multiple domestic violence, battery, and assault offenses on his record.