Somewhere around Baker, La,. a small town on the outskirts of Baton Rouge, Francis Scot Dufore stole a car, then headed for Miami. It was a decision that would cost him his life.
Dufore, 41, was looking for a woman — the 38-year-old mother of his four children. The couple was divorced.
Miami-Dade police said he found her at about 6 p.m. Wednesday at a small grocery story in Homestead on Southwest Eighth Street, used a sharp object to force her into his car, then strangled her in the backseat until she was unconscious.
Then, according to police, Dufore drove a few miles into the woods, nearest to the corner of Southwest 355th Street and 180th Avenue. When the woman woke up, police said, she was out of sorts in a thick, wooded area in deep South Miami-Dade County.
Yet with Dufore out of sight, she still managed to find her cell phone and call police. When they arrived, the the trunk of the stolen vehicle was open, but no one was in sight.
As an officer with a K9 searched the woods, police said Dufore popped into view holding a shotgun. The officer, a 23-year veteran, fired before Dufore had a chance to unload a round, police said.
Dufore fell dead.
“He pointed the gun at the officer. The officer had no choice but to shoot,” said Miami-Dade Detective Jennifer Capote.
Earlier reports, which were debunked, suggested Dufore forced the woman into the car’s trunk and that she managed to contact police while trapped.
“She never made it inside the trunk. She was always in the backseat,” said Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. “The trunk was open when we got there. We believe that’s where he retrieved his shotgun.”
Police said the woman, whose name hasn’t been released, was visibly shaken and had a sore neck, but was otherwise unharmed. They said they don’t know why Dufore kidnapped his ex-wife. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which declines comment on police shootings, is investigating the incident.
An officer with the Baker Police Department reached by phone Thursday said there are no outstanding warrants for Dufore and that no priors popped up when she typed his name into a database.
The shooting was the second by a Miami-Dade police officer in the past three weeks. On April 5, a plainclothes detective shot through a vehicle window and hit Francisco Perez Trejo in the arm. Initial reports were that the officer fired his weapon when he saw Trejo reach for an object. Police would later say the officer fired through a window fearing the vehicle was endangering him.