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Officials: Road rage leads to shooting death in Florida

A 32-year-old man is dead following an apparent road rage incident on April 20, 2019, and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office says it was a case of self-defense.
Posted at 7:39 PM, Apr 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 06:39:56-04

PARRISH, Fla. (AP/WFTS) — Authorities say a Florida driver who shot a man dead in a road rage argument acted in self-defense.

Manatee County Sheriff's Office said in a Sunday press release the shooter was a victim of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon prior to firing his gun.

The sheriff's office says a now-deceased 32-year-old man was driving erratically, swerving in and out of his lane. He crossed into the westbound lane, almost hitting a 26-year-old man and eventually running him off the road, deputies say.

"The driver of the vehicle that was traveling eastbound on Buckeye (Road) was swerving all over the roadway and almost struck him, he came into his lane, he had to swerve to get out of the way," said Sheriff Rick Wells.

The 26-year-old driver circled back around to follow the other driver in an attempt to get his license plate number, according to the sheriff's office. He thought the other driver might have been under the influence, the sheriff's office says.

The sheriff's office says at that point, the 32-year-old man pulled off of the road and the other driver pulled up next to him. The two men began arguing, the sheriff's office says.

The 32-year-old man exited his vehicle and approached the passenger's side of the 26-year-old man's vehicle, leaning into the open window.

At this point, the sheriff's office says the 26-year-old man armed himself with a pistol, pointed it at the other man and told him to back away. The 32-year-old man brandished his own weapon.

The 26-year-old fired his weapon and hit the other man, according to the sheriff's office. He then pulled over, called 911 and waited for authorities to arrive.

"He's shaken. He’s with the investigators right now, giving an interview. He pulled off immediately, called 911 and stayed here until deputies arrived. He has been cooperating with us," Sheriff Wells said Saturday night.

The 32-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sheriff's office announced on Sunday that the shooting was considered a justifiable act of self-defense. They determined the shooter was a victim of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon prior to the shooting, according to a press release.

The sheriff's office says they believe both men were legally carrying the weapons.

The sheriff's office is withholding the men's names citing a provision in the "Marsy's Law" amendment for victims' privacy approved in November.

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