A 43-year-old man, wanted on a warrant in Hernando County, was shot and killed by Marion County sheriff's deputies Wednesday morning, ending a 10-hour standoff.
David Orens, who was wanted for violating the terms of his probation, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The standoff began about 10 p.m. Tuesday when a Marion County sheriff's deputy went to serve a warrant at Orens' Freshwater Court home.
According to Marion Capt. Dennis Strow, the agency had received information from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office indicating that Orens might be staying at a concrete block house in the Rainbow Lakes subdivision, a densely wooded and secluded area near Dunnellon.
Hernando authorities had been looking for Orens since Dec. 20, according to Hernando sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Black.
Orens was convicted of burglarizing a structure in 2002 and received five years' probation, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Orens had a history of burglaries, larcenies and carrying a concealed weapon, FLDE records show. Orens has lived in North Miami and Dunnellon.
When the deputy knocked on the door, Orens reportedly peeked out of a window and said he would come right out.
Moments later, Orens opened the door and stepped onto the porch, holding a handgun to his head. That sent the deputy scurrying behind a tree, where he waited until the SWAT team, a crisis intervention officer and a jail nurse arrived, Strow said.
Orens closed the door behind him and later emerged with a rifle, officials said.
"He always had a gun and a finger on the trigger," Strow said Wednesday. "It was not safe to take him, and we were not trying to push for a conclusion. Our mind set was that this could go as long as it should."
Despite deputies' attempts to calm Orens, Strow said the suspect appeared agitated and belligerent and made threatening statements. At one point, Orens allegedly said he was looking for the sniper to pick off.
During the standoff, Orens walked into his front yard and jumped on the hood of a deputy's squad car. He also kicked in the windshield, Strow said.
"He later apologized for jumping up and down on the windshield," Strow said.
Despite the apology, Orens' threats continued, Strow said. From 11:25 p.m. Tuesday, negotiators tried on and off to talk with Orens, but could not persuade him to give up, officials said.
About 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, as the standoff headed into its 10th hour, Orens walked to the side of his house. Sensing the end was near, the deputies followed him, but were surprised when they realized he was carrying a .45-caliber pistol, .38-caliber revolver and a rifle with the strap slung around his shoulder, officials said.
"For the first time, he did not have a finger on the trigger, but when the deputies approached him, he immediately turned and pivoted the rifle to a shooting position," Strow said.
The deputies fired an undisclosed number of shots, killing Orens.
Authorities later searched the home and found a cache of weapons, ammunition and ammunition reloading equipment, Strow said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting, a standard procedure. The Marion County Sheriff's Office has placed the deputies involved on leave during an internal review.
Marion County officials said they were mindful that the standoff could have had another outcome. Last February, Marion County Deputy Brian Litz was shot and killed by a 74-year-old man after Litz went to check on him. During an argument, the elderly man opened fire.
"We were out there to serve a warrant like we do daily," Strow said of Orens' case. "Unfortunately, in this case, he opened the door with a gun to his head. When you deal with somebody like that, you don't know where it is going."
Duane Bourne can be reached at (352) 754-6114 or dbournesptimes.com.