A pedestrian who was struck by a car turned into an attacker Wednesday morning and investigators are looking into whether it was all a setup, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
The driver, Duke Ratanakam, said he was on his was way home from work at around 1 a.m. when two people crossed in front of his vehicle. He said he and one of the men, Philip Jackson, collided, knocking off his side mirror.
Ratanakam, 42, said he got out of his car to see if Jackson was all right and dialed 911.
"I think he overheard the conversation [with the 911 operator] and got upset and he started to attack me with his handgun," Ratanakam said.
Ratanakam said Jackson, 25, then began looking for items in his car to steal so Ratanakam confronted Jackson and punched him multiple times. That's when the situation went from bad to worse.
"I kept coming at him and then he pulled it out and fired one round up in the air," he said, adding Jackson then ran off without taking anything.
Deputies said they arrived within minutes and tracked Jackson to a nearby apartment complex where he admitted to everything and even showed authorities the gun he used in the attack.
Detective Larry McKinnon said deputies are investigating whether the suspect lured the victim into the attempted robbery.
"Was this some type of staged setup where he faked a bump into the car knowing that the victim would stop and then he ends up robbing him?" McKinnon said. "You never hear of these type of situations. It is very bizarre, very strange."
Although the victim said he saw two men crossing the street, detectives believe Jackson acted alone.
The attack left Ratanakam with a swollen jaw and eye, along with several cuts and bruises on his face, but he said he feels lucky to be alive.
"[This was] probably one of the worst experiences of my life," he said. "I wouldn't have thought that somebody would do anything like this."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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