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Sheriff’s deputies in Florida shot and killed a man described as having anti-government views Sunday, after the suspect allegedly opened fire on a sport utility vehicle full of law-enforcement officers, the sheriff’s office said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday identified the gunman as Joseph Paffen, 46.
Paffen allegedly opened fire on a vehicle with four deputies inside as they responded to a call for a domestic incident involving Paffen at a Publix grocery store in Orlando at 5:18 p.m. Sunday, and the officers returned fire, killing him, the sheriff’s office said. One deputy was shot in the leg and another was hurt by flying glass as bullets crashed into the SUV.
Deputies told NBC station WESH that Paffen identified as a "sovereign citizen." "It means that in many regards, they do not recognize the existing government," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told the station. Before the incident that drew the deputies to the supermarket, the sheriff’s office said Paffen left voice mails on the phone of a woman who had taken out a restraining order against him, and she called the authorities after Paffen asked her to meet him in the Publix parking lot, the station reported.