Off-duty Brevard deputy opens fire after being dragged by suspect

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - An off-duty Brevard County deputy was dragged and forced to fire his gun when someone he was trying to question fled Saturday night.

The incident happened when the deputy was working as a security guard at the Dixie Crossroads restaurant in Titusville.

The deputy's instincts kicked in when he noticed someone was behaving suspiciously in the parking lot.

"The deputies - we look at them as part of our team," Dixie Crossroads co-owner Clay Townsend said.

Townsend said he's relied on off-duty Brevard County deputies to keep the parking lots of his landmark restaurant safe.

"It's why we don't really have problems at Dixie Crossroads because we have such great help from the sheriff's office," Townsend said.

They were fortunate to have the extra security when around 9 p.m. a suspicious man, later identified as 52-year-old Ronald Murphy, was spotted in a side parking lot.

Authorities said after confronting Murphy and running his driver license, the deputy discovered he had at least two outstanding warrants.

When the deputy approached him a second time Murphy took off, briefly dragging the deputy through the parking lot.

"His pants were torn, and he was bleeding some and they took him off to make sure he was okay," Townsend said.

The deputy suffered minor injuries. Investigators said he fired his weapon as Murphy sped away, but no one was injured.

Murphy was located shortly after the incident and taken into custody.

"The suspect was apprehended is my understanding and I feel a lot safer knowing that happened," Townsend said.

Murphy was booked into the Brevard County Jail on his outstanding warrants and more charges are pending.