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‘I had to put her down’: Florida man who shot girlfriend in the back 4 times claims it was self-defense

Richard Raciak (Orange County Sheriff's Office)

Richard Raciak (Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

A 48-year-old man in Florida has been arrested after he allegedly shot his girlfriend in the back and then told authorities that he was acting in self-defense. Richard Raciak was taken into custody early Sunday morning and charged with one count of first-degree murder with a firearm in the slaying of 46-year-old Allison Sheehan, who is also the mother of his child, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office on Monday issued a brief press release on the arrest stating that Raciak “claimed it was self defense when he shot Allison when her back was to him.”

A copy of a sworn affidavit from the sheriff’s office obtained by Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG provided additional details regarding the shooting.

OCSO deputies at about 12:39 a.m. on April 16 responded to a home located in the 2800 block of Smithfield Drive, according to the affidavit obtained by the station. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders said they found an adult female — later identified as Sheehan — who was in the master bedroom of the residence and had apparently sustained multiple gunshot wounds. She was immediately transported to Osceola Regional Hospital for treatment, but unfortunately succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead.

Raciak was located on the scene and transported to Hunter’s Creek Emergency Room for treatment after he reportedly complained of being severely dehydrated.

Investigators made contact with Raciak’s father, who had been at the couple’s home earlier in the day to celebrate the birthday of Raciak and Sheehan’s son. He left the home at approximately 3:30 p.m., per the report, but that evening at around 10:30 p.m., Raciak’s father said he began receiving text messages from his son regarding a violent encounter between Raciak and Sheehan.

“Allison was attacking me I had to fire shots,” a message from Raciak to his father read, according to a report from Orlando-News. “I had to put her down Self defense. Only choice I had. Waiting on cops.”

In other messages, Raciak allegedly asked his father and brother to get cash from his safe and sent them a photo of Sheehan’s dead body.

After being released from the hospital, detectives interviewed Raciak, who allegedly explained that he and Sheehan had been together for about eight years. He reportedly said that during their son’s birthday party, Sheehan consumed excessive amounts of alcohol. That evening, he claimed that they got into an argument and Sheehan attacked him and tried to “claw” his eyes out.

He claimed that Sheehan then pushed him into a dresser, knocking him to the ground, per the report. Raciak then allegedly said that he went to the bedside table and removed his .40 caliber handgun from a biometric safe.

According to WKMG, Raciak allegedly told investigators that he wanted to “put her down,” and tried to shoot Sheehan in the leg so she would “chill,” but he accidentally “aimed high” when he fired the four shots at her. Raciak also allegedly admitted that Sheehan was facing away from him and walking in the opposite direction when the shots were fired, per Orlando-News.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.