PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — Michael Arrieta knows what it’s like to feel angry behind the wheel of a car and why it should never escalate to violence.
“Road rage, guilty,” he said with a hand to his chest. “I think everyone else in this room is guilty. It shouldn’t go that far. Life is beautiful and precious.”
Police say it was road rage and a gun that ended the life of Michael Arrieta’s sister, Elizabeth “Elly” Arrieta, 29.
“If anyone knows anything – the family would be more than appreciative for any crumb,” said Michael Arrieta.
According to Plant City Police, Arrieta was the passenger in a car on the way back from Anna Maria Island on Tuesday, April 18.
Just after 9 p.m. on I-4, a driver, described by police as erratic and showing signs of road rage, shot into Arrieta’s car.
The gunfire killed Arrieta and injured the driver, identified by Arrieta’s family as Juan Ladson, 29.
“Bless him that he’s still here today. I pray for him and he’s so lucky to be here and he has so much more to go. He’s a brother to me. He’s an honorary Arrieta,” said Michael Arrieta.
At a news conference Wednesday, police provided new information on the 2009-2015 silver or gray Toyota Prius detectives have been looking for since the shooting.
“The vehicle, and this is important, is believed to be equipped with aftermarket high-intensity discharge headlights which give off a bluish hue,” said Plant City Police Chief James Bradford.
The car had a temporary paper tag, Chief Bradford added.
In addition to the shooter and his vehicle, police are also looking for the driver of a black Dodge Charger who is believed to have also interacted with the shooter on I-4.
“If there was some interaction, perhaps this driver either knows the person or you know, a lot of cars now have dash cams facing outbound so they may have captured something on it, a tag,” said Chief Bradford.
Arrieta’s family has told News Channel 8 she had just launched a tax analysis business and had goals for her future.
Her father, Alfredo, said road rage needs to stop, with an added plea for help to find his daughter’s killer.
“What if that one person that knows who did this – what if their friends or family members go through the same thing?” he asked. “Would that person be worried about snitching?”
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is now offering up to $5,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest.
Tips can remain anonymous. To receive the reward, information must be provided first to Crime Stoppers.
Tips can be made by calling 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), texting **TIPS (8477) or visiting CrimeStoppersTB.com and selecting “Submit a Tip.”