Orlando city worker accused of shooting off-duty deputy



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orlando city worker accused of shooting an off-duty Orange County deputy in the back was arrested on Wednesday, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said 29-year-old Eric Leon Howell was arrested several miles from the scene. He was booked into the Orange County Jail.

The shooting happened at a Public Storage complex on LB McLeod Road near Kirkman Road in Orlando early Wednesday morning.

"For some reason, the suspect shot the victim in the back and then he fled the scene," said Cpl. David Almond, of the Orlando Police Department.

Investigators said Howell knew 47-year-old Deputy Charlie Murphy because Murphy was friends with the mother of Howell's children.

They said the incident began with an altercation between the two men over the female friend. Howell then shot the deputy in the back and fled the scene, officers said, but the injured deputy still managed to flag down a driver passing by.

"He said he was an off-duty officer and he'd been shot that he needed paramedics," the woman who called 911 told WFTV.

WFTV was there as the deputy's bullet-riddled Ford Explorer was towed away.

Sheriff Jerry Demings told WFTV Murphy is in stable condition.

"This was not related to any law enforcement-related type of activity. It was personal issues going on and we're trying to understand what all of that was," said Demings. "He was driving his SUV and got involved in an altercation with someone who shot him in the back while he was in his vehicle."

Police said Murphy has been on the force for six years. They said he worked patrol in the west side of the county.

Investigators said since the deputy was not on duty during the incident, Howell will not be charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.

Howell is being charged with attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, aggravated battery with a firearm and battery.