A woman who was brutally attacked by her husband in front of their children early Thursday morning died overnight, according to Hillsborough County sheriff’s officials.
Michelle Dukes, 34, was airlifted in critical condition to Tampa General Hospital from her street in Riverview on Thursday morning after her husband, Keith Dukes, 48, allegedly slit her throat and shot her multiple times in the upper body, the sheriff’s office said. He now faces a charge of second-degree murder.
After the incident Thursday morning, Hillsborough deputies found Keith Dukes near the family’s home, standing in the Alafia River. He told them he did it because his wife tried to take their daughters away.
“My life is over,” Keith Dukes told deputies as they apprehended him, according to a probable cause affidavit. “I wish you could have just killed me. Just take me to jail.” According to the affidavit, he had been separated from his wife for about a year.
The couple’s daughters, ages 7, 13 and 14, were waiting in the car for a ride to school when the violence broke out. Keith Dukes first stabbed or cut his wife in the throat inside their home at 8818 Van Fleet Road, a quiet suburban street with no sidewalks and ranch homes. She ran from the house screaming for help and her daughters, who saw her from the car, ran with her, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said at a news conference Thursday morning.
A passing Waste Management truck driver saw the family running toward him, begging for help, so he called 911. Michelle Dukes was covered in blood.
“I saw a cut going from one side of her neck to the other,” the driver, Jason Alvarez, said.
A neighbor who had come outside after he heard commotion gave the dispatcher the address. In the meantime, the family took refuge in another neighbor’s home.
A short time later, Alvarez heard a gunshot. Keith Dukes had broken into the neighbor’s home where his wife and children were hiding. He fired three shots, according to the affidavit, before a witness wrestled the gun from him.
The children were uninjured, Gee said, but surely traumatized. They were staying with a family member Thursday night.