DeLand, FL – The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) has released video footage of a high-speed pursuit and shootout that nearly cost one veteran deputy his life (video below).
The incident began at approximately 2:20 p.m. on April 11, when 30-year-old Phillip Marsh carjacked a woman at gunpoint at her Deltona home, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Deputies tried to stop the white truck in Deltona, but Marsh tried to ram their patrol vehicles and pointed a gun at them, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood explained during a press conference later that day.
He then led them on a high-speed chase towards DeLand.
“As he fled, the suspect appeared to be waving a handgun out the driver’s side window,” the VCSO noted.
Police helicopter footage showed the white pickup as it traveled the wrong way down State Road 44, then swerved into the median to navigate around a police SUV.
At one point during the pursuit, Marsh swerved towards a deputy who had deployed stop sticks on the roadway, the video showed.
Deputies deployed several sets of stop sticks along the route, and managed to deflate all four of the truck’s tires.
“He continued on for probably several miles, waving a handgun out the window,” Sheriff Chitwood noted. “He drove on rims for probably three miles.”
The vehicle ultimately rolled to a stop in front of the Volusia County Fairgrounds on State Road 44 in DeLand.
Marsh barreled out of the stolen truck with a gun aimed at his head, and ran towards other vehicles stopped nearby, video footage showed.
He then made his way towards a black SUV, and “appeared to be ready to carjack another innocent person,” Sheriff Chitwood said.
A narcotics deputy in an unmarked SUV drove his patrol unit towards Marsh, and managed to block his pathway so he could not access his next victim.
Marsh then turned towards the deputies, and opened fire.
“Five deputies returned fire, striking the suspect several times,” the VCSO said.
Wounded but undeterred, Marsh took off into the woods with his gun still in-hand.
Deputies pursued him on foot, and the suspect ignored their orders to drop his weapon.
The VCSO then “assembled a team with ballistic shields and Tasers to go in and tase him to get him to drop the firearm,” Sheriff Chitwood said.
He was rushed to a local hospital, and was later pronounced dead.
After Marsh was subdued and taken into custody, deputies realized that 54-year-old Volusia County Sheriff’s Sergeant Thomas “Tommy” Dane was “bleeding profusely from his head,” the sheriff explained.
Sgt. Dane had been grazed in the head by one of Marsh’s bullets shortly after he got out of his vehicle, bodycam footage showed.
“His hat was found lying on the road with an entry hole next to the ‘SHERIFF’S K-9 UNIT’ logo on the front, and an exit hole a few inches above that,” the VCSO said.
The bullet had glanced off the veteran deputy’s skull.
“I didn’t know he was shot, and he was standing in front of me,” Sheriff Chitwood explained. “He never retreated. He kept going forward toward the threat, which I think was one of the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen. He just kept going forward.”
Bodycam footage showed Sgt. Dane as he made his way out of the woods after helping to apprehend Marsh.
“You okay?” a fellow deputy asked him.
“Yeah. I got hit in the head with a round. With a bullet,” he replied.
Sgt. Dane, a 30-year veteran-of-the-force, was flown to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where he was treated and released.
Sheriff Chitwood said that this was the “luckiest day” in the history of his career, because Sgt. Dane would have been killed if the round had struck him just “a millimeter lower.”
“That’s how close he came to being killed today,” Sheriff Chitwood reiterated.
Several days prior to the pursuit, Marsh had been reported as a suicidal missing person in a nearby county, the sheriff explained.
The reporting party said Marsh wanted to be killed by police.
“Clearly, his actions when he came out of that vehicle – he wanted us to shoot him, and he was going to take one of us with him,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “This guy was not going to go peaceably into the good night.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of the men and women that I work with today,” he added. “Everything that they did was to try to prevent what happened, but also knowing that this was probably what was going to happen based on the series of events and…how erratically the suspect was acting.”
Investigators believe Marsh fired at least three or four rounds before he ran into the woods, but have not yet determined how many bullets the deputies fired.
“It was a lot. I mean, we returned a lot,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “He figured he could take us all, and he lost that fight.”
The deputies who fired their weapons during the altercation have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as per protocol.
Marsh’s criminal history dates back to 2007, according to the Miami Herald.
He was previously convicted of offenses including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery, dealing in stolen property, grand theft, and home invasion with a deadly weapon.
You can watch footage of the deputies’ encounter with Marsh in the video below. WARNING - Graphic Content