Sheriff Gee: Children witnessed deadly domestic dispute in Riverview

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A man is in custody, a woman is dead and three children are in the care of the state following a horrifying domestic dispute Thursday morning.

It all started around 7 a.m., when the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office received reports of shots fired in a home on the 8800 block of Van Fleet Road.

Deputies said they arrived to find a woman had been stabbed and then shot by her husband. They said he fled the scene, but was found hiding underneath a boat dock along the Alafia River a short time later.

They took 48-year-old Keith L. Dukes into custody.

As officials took him into custody, Dukes told them, "My life is over. She tried to take the kids away from me... Where are my kids and who is going to take care of them? I wish you could have just killed me, just take me to jail," according to his arrest report.

According to Sheriff David Gee, the man stabbed his wife, 34-year-old Michelle Dukes, in the throat as her three children sat in the car waiting to go to school.

Michelle Dukes then ran out of the house as her husband chased after her, this time with a gun in hand. Investigators said the couple made it to the house next door, and that's where Keith Dukes shot his wife three times and attempted to shoot their neighbor.

Sheriff Gee said the woman's kids had followed too, and watched in horror as the violent situation unfolded.

"They followed their mother into the house, apparently to see what had happened. They had contact with her and were in close proximity at the time that she was shot," he explained, adding that they were so close, their mother's blood was on their clothes.

Jason Alvirez was in the middle of his trash collection route when he heard someone screaming.

He stopped his garbage truck and saw Dukes and her daughters running toward him.

"She was begging for help, so I called 911 and then she showed me she got a cut like from here to here," Alvirez said. "It was really bad. It was from side to side, maybe like two inches deep."

Alvirez was unsure exactly where he was, so he handed to phone to Frank Breden who had also heard the screams and ran outside.

Breden said as he was talking to the 911 operator, Dukes approached him, pointed a gun in his face and pulled it trigger.

"This man was three feet away from me. I heard the click," Breden said. "Somebody was watching out for me. They really were."

The sheriff also said that aside from being very upset, the children were uninjured and taken into custody by the state. The three girls are 14, 13 and 7 years old.

Michelle Dukes was taken to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition, but she passed away overnight Thursday.

It's still unclear what started the dispute to begin with. According to an arrest report, the Dukes had been separated for a year.

"We don't know what was going on. That's what we're trying to sort out," Gee said. "Trying to figure out what the relationship was and what lead up to this."

Neighbor Margaret Carlise reflects upon how the kids will be scarred.

"The terror that they would see. The memories they will have for the rest of their (lives)."