Sheriff Grady Judd said it started as a physical fight when two groups of bikers, the Thug Riders Motorcycle Club and the Sin City Deciples [sic] Motorcycle Club, passed each other.
The sheriff said Deciples member Ronald Donovan, 38, of Cocoa fired a gun at a Thug Riders member, who fired back toward Donovan.
According to Judd, the bullet struck Donovan’s passenger in the head just above the ear, causing her to fall off of the motorcycle.
“They took an 1888 old western shootout and brought it to 2021,” Judd said.
Judd said the investigation found that the Thug Riders victim was acting in self-defense when he returned fire.
“It just happened, that the Thug Riders decided they would pass the Sin City riders, and that didn’t work so well,” he said. “You had a rush of testosterone and a rush of idiocy.”
Judd said he’s worried more trouble could be coming.
“Retaliation will get you all locked up in prison for a very long time, and that’s a guarantee in Polk County,” he said.
A portion of I-4 was shut down for several hours as deputies and Florida Highway Patrol troopers searched for firearms and bullet casings over a half-mile area.
Donovan faces multiple charges, including second-degree felony murder, attempted first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, tampering with evidence, 2 counts of resisting with violence, and two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer.
He is expected to make his first appearance in court at 9 a.m. Saturday, the PCSO said.
Judd said he expects to provide more details on the case on Monday.
The story has been corrected to reflect that Donovan hit the Thug Riders driver who then fired back, hitting his passenger while defending himself.