The name of the suspect accused of aiming his rifle and shooting at the Sabal Trail Pipeline before leading police on a chase ending in shots fired early Sunday morning has been released.
James Leroy Marker, 66, was seen and heard in Dunnellon by neighbors when police said he shot rounds toward the Sabal Trail Pipeline.
Joanna Maxwell, who lives close to the scene said she was getting ready to head out to work when she heard the shots go off.
“We can tell there was gunfire coming from that area,” Maxwell said. “There was probably 20 shots before I left to work.”
At 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, officials responded to State Road 200 near Dunnellon. When they arrived, Marker fled the scene.
He led law enforcement on a chase and was later shot and killed by Citrus County deputies after pointing his high-powered rifle at them, according to the police report.
First responders arrived to the scene in Floral Park, where Marker was pronounced dead.
The Citrus County deputies who responded to the scene, Jason Strickland, Gabriel Gerena and Jericho McIntyre, have been put on paid administrative leave.
Elizabeth Bienkowski was on her way to breakfast Sunday when she caught a glimpse of who she believes to be Marker.
“There was a white pick-up truck in the pasture, [there] was somebody standing in the back of the truck and it looked like a rifle,” Bienkowski said.
Officials don’t know yet whether Marker was a protestor, or just used the equipment and pipeline as a target.
“I don’t know which direction he was shooting, but there’s a lot of residents up that row,” Maxwell said. “He could have just as easily shot somebody. An innocent person that was driving by.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation into the incident is ongoing. A spokesman said they would not comment further on the investigation.