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TAMPA, FLORIDA — A motorist was shot and killed on a highway in central Florida on Saturday after an unknown gunman chased him for miles as the terrified victim called emergency dispatchers, officials said. The motive was not immediately known and no arrests were made.
The incident was first reported at around 3 p.m. local time when the Tampa Police Department (TPD) received a 911 call from a motorist who said someone was following him. He said he was on a local Tampa road but stated he would be turning onto Interstate 4, traveling toward the city of Orlando.
Because the motorist was leaving the Tampa Police Department's jurisdiction, he was transferred to Florida Highway Patrol and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He then told emergency dispatchers that the vehicle following him had earlier pulled up next to his vehicle and someone displayed what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon.
"The caller stayed on the phone with 911 operators and the dispatchers heard multiple gunshots," said Debbie Carter, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office. Witnesses told police that the victim then pulled off the roadway near the Interstate 75 overpass, more than 5.3 miles (8.5 kilometers) from where the motorist was when he first called 911.
The victim, who was not from the area but from a county elsewhere in Florida, was pronounced dead at the scene. Carter said investigators do not know what was the motive behind the shooting and said the victim had earlier told 911 operators that he had not done anything to cause someone to follow him.
The eastbound lane of Interstate 4 was closed for hours as investigators walked the roadway looking for evidence. Police described the suspect vehicle as a gray newer model Taurus with tinted windows, but Carter said it is not yet known how many people may have been inside.