GATEWAY, Fla. - Investigators are trying to figure out what caused a Gateway man to shoot at his family and deputies, before possibly setting his home on fire. It it all started as a call for domestic violence and ended with the man's death at a home on Lakeland Circle in the Silver Lakes community.
Once the fire was out, crews were able to find a body. The Lee County Sheriff's Office has not yet identified the man or given a cause of death. We're told, because the fire scene is also a crime scene, it may take much longer to get that answers.
Thursday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office was called to a home on lakeland circle for shots fired. "I don't know if he was inside of outside at the time but when the deputy initially arrived, he was fired upon by the subject and returned fire," LCSO Public Information Officer Tony Schall said.
None of the deputies were hit. It's unclear if the shooter was injured. Authorities learned the armed man had taken his wife and daughter hostage and had fired shots at them.
Deputies were able to rescue the women through a window. But then, smoke began to rise. Authorities believe the man inside lit the home on fire.
"If it was a normal situation where we didn't have a crime going on we would have been able to get in there and get it out pretty quickly," South Trail Fire Chief William Lombardo said. "Because we couldn't get out there, we had a dangerous situation with an active shooter. We had to wait until that situation had resolved itself."
The home became engulfed in flames and collapsed. All crews could do was protect surrounding homes. "Once it got to the point where we didn't think anyone was in the house could survive, we could safely approach the house and started fighting the fire," Lombardo said. "The house is a total loss at this point."
Once the fire was out, Investigators found one body inside. "Any time you have somebody firing shots at us, it cant get any more dangerous than that," Schall said. "Fortunately, none of our deputies were injured in this."
At this point, there are still a lot of unanswered question as to who that man was, how the fire started and why he shot at his family and at deputies. We're told the wife and daughter were transported to the hospital to be checked out.