Major law enforcement response after driver shot, killed on I-4 EB at I-75; gunman at large

HCSO: Victim alerted 911 to threatening driver

TAMPA, Fla. - A man who alerted 911 to a person he said was following him on Interstate 4 in Tampa was shot and killed while on the phone with dispatchers Saturday afternoon.

Florida Highway Patrol and Hillsborough County Sheriff's officials confirmed they responded to the eastbound lanes of Interstate 4, under Interstate 75, around 3 p.m. Saturday.

A Florida Department of Transportation camera showed law enforcement officers with guns drawn running alongside an FHP SUV, followed by a silver car with other officers.

Another single law enforcement officer approached the vehicles from the westbound lanes and hid behind a pillar of the overpass, with a gun drawn at his side.

The officers on the eastbound lanes slowly approached the vehicle with long guns drawn and shattered the passenger side window.

After the window shattered to the roadway, the officers looked in and drew down their weapons.

One vehicle had flashers on, while stopped on the side of the road. A second vehicle was stopped diagonally behind the vehicle, still on the interstate and the side of the roadway. It is not yet known if both vehicles are involved in the shooting.

After approaching the vehicle, the officers pulled back and allowed traffic to proceed on the westbound side of the interstate.

HCSO spokesperson Debbie Carter said the agencies responded to a shots fired call and found the two vehicles had been traveling on the interstate before the shooting occurred.

While in Tampa Police jurisdiction, the caller said he was getting on the interstate and heading to the Orlando area; the call was then transferred to FHP and HCSO dispatchers.

"While on the phone, the caller stated that the vehicle following him had earlier pulled up next to his vehicle and someone displayed what appeared to be a semiautomatic weapon to him," Carter added.

Sheriff David Gee said the victim called 911 after some type of confrontation at the intersection of North 50th Street & East Columbus Drive -- some 5 miles to the west in Tampa.

The victim told 911 he was still being pursued and was concerned before the shooting occurred.

"At some point, for unknown reasons, the occupant, or occupants, of one vehicle fired multiple shots at the other vehicle," Carter said. The victim was on the phone with 911 when dispatchers heard multiple shots.

The shooting occurred at some point near where the victim's vehicle came to a stop on the interstate, Gee said.

After being shot, the victim pulled to the side of Interstate 4 and the suspect fled. It is not known if there were others in the suspect's vehicle at the time of the shooting.

Law enforcement officials in the area are looking for a gray, newer model Ford Taurus with tinted windows.

The victim, a white male, is not believed to be from Hillsborough County and officials are working to notify his next of kin. "The caller stated that he had done nothing to cause someone to follow him," Carter said.

Gee said the case looks to be road rage, but added that witnesses are still being interviewed and detectives are working to determine exactly what happened leading up the shooting.

The gunman remained at large Saturday evening.

Around 4 p.m., a law enforcement officer on scene said the eastbound lanes of Interstate 4 could be shut down for several hours.

Carter said detectives and deputies are walking the interstate to look for evidence.

Traffic is being diverted before the Interstate 75 exit. Westbound Interstate 4 remains open, but traffic is moving slowly.

HCSO is leading the shooting death investigation, with the assistance of FHP.

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