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Fla. deputy hospitalized after shoplifting suspect hits her

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An Orange County deputy sheriff was knocked unconscious Saturday when a shoplifting suspect "sucker-punched" her in the face, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Gayle Cadiz, 37, was is in serious but stable condition Sunday at Orlando Regional Medical Center with injuries to her face and head.

Sheriff Kevin Beary called the incident an "unprovoked and potentially lethal attack" on one of his deputies.

The incident happened about 2:15 p.m. Saturday at a shopping plaza at Colonial Drive and State Road 436. Cadiz approached the suspect in the parking lot after an Office Depot employee said the man had stolen items.

Witnesses said the suspect punched Cadiz in the face. She fell to the ground and the man apparently hit her again, the Sheriff's Office said.

The man fled in a white Mitsubishi Galant with tinted windows. The Sheriff's Office described him as muscular, at least 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds and wearing a white shirt and a white baseball cap. A woman was driving the car.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimeline at 407-423-TIPS. A $5,000 reward is being offered.

Copyright 2008 The South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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