Home / National News / Fla. Killing Now Believed to Be 'Case of Mistaken Identity,' Not Road Rage


(TAMPA, Fla.) — A deadly shooting on a Tampa, Fla., highway over the weekend was not caused by road rage as first believed, but rather a case of mistaken identity, police said.

Jerome Edward Hayes, 48, of St. Cloud, Fla., was charged with first-degree murder with a firearm after police said he brandished a gun and fatally shot Fred William Turner Jr., 47, of Orlando, Fla.

Authorities said Hayes followed Turner onto a Florida highway believing he was a different man with whom Hayes and a friend had clashed at a local strip club.

Hayes voluntarily turned himself in to the Orient Road Jail Monday morning after he learned a warrant had been issued for his arrest, his attorney, Nick Matassini Jr., told ABC News. He was being held without bond.

Turner had called 911 to tell dispatchers he was being followed by a man with a gun after leaving a nearby store Saturday afternoon.

Hayes and his friend had been kicked out of the Tampa Gold Club, a strip club, as a result of the fight and waited in the parking lot in Hayes’ gray 2012 Ford Taurus.

Turner was at Tres Equis, a nearby sex shop that shares the same building and parking lot as the Gold Club, a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office news release said.

Turner eventually drove out of the parking lot, and Hayes’ car was seen trailing Turner’s green Mustang, the news release said. Hayes and his friend then followed Turner to the interstate, where Hayes allegedly shot him several times.

Authorities found Turner shot to death in his car on the side of the roadway.

“Unfortunately, it was a case of mistaken identity and being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Col. Donna Lusczynski said at a news conference Monday.

Hillsborough County officials identified Hayes as a suspect after speaking with a Gold Club manager who provided a copy of Hayes’ receipt from the strip club, according to the probable cause affidavit. Officials then were able to identify Hayes as the owner of the Ford Taurus.

Authorities contacted Hayes and met him at his St. Cloud, Fla., home on Sunday, where they seized his car and his firearms with Hayes’ consent, Matassini said.

A Hillsborough County Sheriff spokeswoman told ABC News she was not able to release information about the identity of the second man in Hayes’ car amid an ongoing investigation.

Hayes appeared in Hillsborough County Circuit Court on Tuesday morning, where a judge denied him bond. Matassini said his client is due back in court sometime next week for another bond hearing.

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