PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — Police vow to find the shooter who killed a woman and injured a man in an apparent road rage incident on Interstate 4 on Tuesday night.
“We’re going to work tirelessly to try to find the driver of this Prius and bring him to justice,” said Capt. Alfred Van Duyne from the Plant City Police Department.
Police say a man called 911 at 9:12 Tuesday night.
“We’ve been shot,” he said on the call. “Somebody shot us on I-4.”
The man tells the 911 dispatcher he was shot and the woman in the car with him was badly injured.
“Baby, relax,” he said desperately.
According to police, the pair was shot on eastbound I-4 before Exit 23.
“The male victim was able to relay to us that a gray or silver Toyota Prius was the vehicle that shot at them. It was driven by a male subject. The victim wasn’t able to advise if he was black, white, hispanic, etc.,” said Capt. Van Duyne.
The victim told police the shooter had been driving erratically, cut the victim off and exhibited signs of road rage.
The shooter kept driving east towards Polk County, according to police.
The male victim, the driver, got off I-4 and pulled into Plant City Fire Rescue Station #3, called 911 and sought help.
“It was totally unannounced. That’s one thing that’s great about our crews is that they’re always prepared. We’re grateful that we were in the station and not out on a call. They were here to start immediately providing life-saving care,” said Plant City Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Tim Mossgrove.
The male driver was taken to Lakeland Regional Health in critical but stable condition, according to officials. The female passenger died on scene.
“A road rage incident of this magnitude is very rare. It’s very disheartening. It’s very saddening,” said Capt. Van Duyne.
In a report published in March, Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group, found that more than 550 people were killed or injured in road rage shootings in America in 2022.
“In 2022, someone was shot and either killed or injured in a road rage incident every 16 hours on average,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, Senior Director of Research at Everytown for Gun Safety.
Using data from Gun Violence Archive, Everytown found that road rage shooting deaths grew from 70 in 2018 to 141 in 2022.
“The fact that they keep happening in states across the country is tragically not surprising,” said Burd-Sharps.
Plant City officials commend the victim for being able to locate emergency services so quickly.
“It’s really what we call situational awareness of your community. Where are fire stations at? Where are medical facilities located at as a whole?” said Deputy Chief Mossgrove.
Anyone with information about the incident or the Toyota Prius is asked to contact Sergeant Baker at (813) 707-2271 or Detective Cowart at (813) 707-2270.