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Shop owner shoots enraged customer to end attack

Originally ran here as:
"Car-repair dispute leads to shooting"
By Rene Stutzman, Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer
August 5, 2001

A dispute at an Orange County auto-repair shop ended Saturday with the shop owner shooting a customer in the face, the owner said.

Raymond Morris, 30, of 803 S. Ivey Lane, was in stable condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The bullet tore through Morris’ right cheek, but his injury was not life-threatening, said Sgt. John Brick of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Shop owner David Lee Tibbs, 49, of 5762 Chipola Circle, had a swollen eye and scrapes on his nose. He said he fired his .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun in self-defense.

"He punched me once in the eye and nose, then he picked up something in his hand," Tibbs said. "I had to defend myself. I was afraid for my life."

Morris could not be reached for comment.

The shooting happened about 10 a.m. Saturday at Hi Tech Mobile Service, 1901 S. Orange Blossom Trail.

The dispute began after Morris asked Tibbs to repair the air conditioner in his car. When Tibbs told him it would cost $20, Morris got upset, Brick said.

John Stephens, an employee at the repair shop, witnessed the altercation. He said Morris cursed his boss and Tibbs told him to leave, but the customer refused and they argued.

At one point, Morris got a piece of wood from his car and went back inside after Tibbs, Stevens said.

"I didn’t want to do it," Tibbs said of firing his handgun. "It hurt me to do it. I try to keep the peace around here. I go to church every Sunday."

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