Search for carjacking suspect after I-4 chase, shots fired

- The search is underway for a carjacking suspect who led deputies on a chase along Interstate 4 then fired at one of his victims after stealing another vehicle.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the whole thing started with a carjacking along Kirkman Road in Orlando just after 9:30 a.m.  The suspect sped west along Interstate 4 through Polk County, where he stole a second vehicle.

Deputies in Polk spotted that vehicle – a Cadillac – and chased it until the suspect ditched it along Interstate 4 and fled on foot.  

The man then stole a third vehicle – a green Ford F-150 – from a construction site in Plant City.  But  one of the construction workers chased after the suspect in another truck until both vehicles arrived at the Marathon gas station on Thonotosassa Road.  That’s where the suspect got out of the green truck and opened fire towards the worker.

"He pulled out a gun and started shooting," recalled the worker, George Ballin.  "He shot the truck three times. I don’t know if he was trying to kill me or not.  I saw him pulling out a gun so I backed up. And he shot at me then he backed up and left."

Ballin was not hurt, but several bullet holes were obvious in the truck when deputies arrived at the gas station.

Meanwhile, the carjacker had hopped back in the green pickup and fled south on Thonotosassa Road. Deputies and troopers are still looking for the suspect and that truck, which has license plate 9379TJ.

The suspect, whom troopers warn is armed and dangerous, is described as:
-Black male
-6 feet tall
-About 240 pounds
-30 to 40 years old
-Bald or with short cropped hair
-Wearing a green shirt and blue jeans

Anyone with information is asked to call law enforcement or CrimeStoppers at 800-873-TIPS.

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