SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - A man wanted for murder was fatally shot by deputies after leading them on a chase on one of Florida's busiest highways.
The Sumter County Sheriff's Office says the murder suspect, identified as 70-year-old Salvatore Tiron, fired shots at deputies after his vehicle was cornered in a median on Interstate 75. Deputies returned fire, killing the suspect.
Tiron's Mercedes flipped over on its roof and the interstate was shut down for hours near the Florida Turnpike Thursday morning.
“I’m glad it’s over,” said Captain Tony Prevatt, with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies say the trouble began when Tiron killed his ex-wife’s boyfriend in a hotel in Citrus County. They say Tiron then took off in his Mercedes SUV, doing everything he could to elude police.
“He would slow down and drive around the stop sticks and get to the other deputy who deployed stop sticks and drive around,” said Captain Prevatt.
The chase went on for more than 25 miles. Capt. Prevatt was riding with his major when they heard the chase over their radio and joined the pursuit along Highway 44. After getting in behind the suspect, they radioed ahead asking for I-75 to be shut down. Capt. Prevatt says they followed behind as the suspect drove onto the I-75 south ramp.
“We were able to stay right with it and open up,” Prevatt explained.
His major was behind the wheel waiting for the right moment to pull a pit maneuver.
“We’re able to take the left front of our vehicle and tap the right rear of that vehicle. He spun into a circle and flipped over into the median."
That wasn’t the last of the drama and the danger. Since it was too risky to approach the suspect’s car, they called in the SWAT team. Capt. Prevatt says as SWAT approached the overturned SUV, the suspect crawled out shooting at them.
“I heard our SWAT members and deputies raise their voices once again to an even louder tone, ‘Show me your hands! Show me your hands!’ At that point, shots were fired and then we returned fire on the suspect,” said Prevatt.
Capt. Prevatt says six deputies fired the weapons and are now on paid administrative leave. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the officer involved shooting.