An arrest was made Monday in the shooting death of an Orlando man on Interstate 4 near Tampa in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, deputies said.
Investigators arrested 48-year-old Jerome Edward Hayes, of St. Cloud, who turned himself in voluntarily earlier in the day.
During a news conference Monday afternoon, Col. Donna Lusczynski clarified that the incident did not stem from road rage, but rather a case of mistaken identity and "being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
On Saturday, 47-year-old Fred William Turner Jr. called 911 to report someone was following him in the area of 50th and Columbus.
Lusczynski said the shooter had just left a strip club after getting into a fight with someone inside. Turner had just left the neighboring adult theater. Hayes and a friend of his thought Turner was the man they had been fighting with.
While on the phone with dispatchers, Turner said he was getting on the interstate heading toward Orlando, the car following him pulled up beside him and someone inside displayed what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon. Turner also told police he had done nothing to cause someone to follow him.
The dispatcher then heard multiple gunshots, and, according to witnesses, Turner immediately pulled over to the side of the road. Deputies found him dead in his car, with no suspect in sight.
Neighbors of Hayes and his girlfriend in St. Cloud say the man they knew wouldn't have fired a gun like this.
"They're very nice. I'm shocked," said neighbor Ray Phillips. "We've had good dealings with them. We never heard them argue. They were always pleasant."
Hayes faces first-degree murder charges and is being held in the Hillsborough County jail.