JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The search for a shooter in the killing of a 44-year-old truck driver in Duval County spread to other Florida counties Tuesday.
Alachua County deputies were called to investigate a truck matching the description released by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office after a tip was called in to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The tip, which led deputies to the Pilot truck stop off Highway 301 in Waldo, did not turn up the truck being sought, but investigators encourage citizens to keep their eyes open and keep calling in tips.
“Unfortunately, it turned out to be not the one, but we would rather go check those out and have them be excluded then have somebody say, 'Oh, I don't want to call and get involved. That's probably not the right one,'” said Sgt. Art Forgey of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
George Guerrero, from New Jersey, was shot just before 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon on I-10 eastbound west of Chaffee Road in what Jacksonville police described as a road rage incident.
"As an adult, that’s what he loved. He lived for driving trucks and if you saw pictures of him, on any social media or any pictures that people had of him, it’s with his dog and his truck," Guerrero's sister, Malissa Kunz, told News4Jax.
Homicide detectives working the case described the big rig they were looking for as having a dull orange cab pulling a 53-foot white trailer. On Tuesday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office released a stock photo of the make, model and color of the cab that police locally and along interstate highways around the southeast were looking for.
"In this case, this photograph could be very helpful because they do have a color and a make and a model of the type of truck. Now, they may not have the trailer information, but they do have the tractor," Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst, said.
Homicide detectives said the shooting took place after the shooter's vehicle started tailgating Guerrero's tractor-trailer, which had moved to the left lane to avoid construction. When Guerrero moved back into the right lane, an orange semi pulled alongside and appeared to bump the victim’s rig. The victim's truck then veered off the highway and drove into the woods. Police said Guerrero was shot as the second semi passed him.
When Guerrero was found dead in the cab of his semi, the Florida Highway Patrol was called believing the crash resulted in a traffic fatality. Troopers called the JSO when it turned into a homicide investigation.
"Normally, truck drivers are very respectful of each other, allowing each other to pass and do certain things. They sort of have their own language, and they communicate differently, and they're very cooperative with each other," Smith said.
Kunz said what happened to her brother was senseless.
“I think he’s (the shooter) a coward. I think he is disgusting," Kunz, said. "He has sickened and hurt this entire family. He took someone that was loved, cared about, that loved people, loved life and he needs to turn himself in and face the fact the he killed somebody.”
The Florida Highway Patrol has issued an alert to other law enforcement agencies along I-10 and I-95 north and south and alerted commercial vehicle weigh stations in the area. The big rig may have damage to the passenger side.
If a truck fails to stop at a weigh station, that's a red flag and either FHP or Florida Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement officers will track them down.
Anyone with any information on the homicide is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $3,000, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.