Siesta Key woman texts 911 for help, leading to an arrest

A Siesta Key woman didn't want to call 911, so she texted the call center, and it may have saved her life.

Deputies said she was hiding from a man in a home as he fired several rounds inside the house on Wednesday. The victim was in fear of her life and didn’t want to call 911 because the suspect would hear her. Instead, she texted to 911 telling dispatchers where she was and the emergency she was in. 

The incident happened in the 1000 block of Contento Street in Siesta Key. Deputies arrived within minutes and arrested Thomas Dudenhoeffer. Investigators said he fired between 10 and 15 rounds inside the home. 

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is using this incident as an opportunity to remind people to use text-to-911 if they’re in trouble and unable to get to a phone safely. 

They said it’s easy to use. In the comment column, text where you are and what’s happening to "911." Dispatch will text you back asking you additional questions. Photos and videos cannot be received.

Manatee, Sarasota and Hernando counties offer the service. Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hardee, Desoto are working to provide the option by the end of this year.

In Pasco County, the installation is in progress and no date was given. Polk County said the service should be in place by next year.