St. Petersburg police believe road rage led to deadly shooting

- The suspected shooter in a weekend road rage incident is out on bond.  Malcolm DiPina, 22, was charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing a man during an argument at a traffic stop on Saturday.

According to St Petersburg Police the incident occurred shortly after midnight Saturday as the victim, Scott Franklin, 41, was driving home from his job at El Gallo Grande.

On 4th Street South, Franklin crossed paths with DiPina, visiting from Sarasota, and a group of men he was traveling with in two cars.

"Someone cut the other one off. I don't know who cut whom off," said Rick Shaw, spokesperson for St. Petersburg Police, "but when they got to the intersection of 5th Avenue South and 6th Avenue, Mr. Franklin got out of his car."

Police said Franklin "aggressively" approached one of the two cars driving in DiPina's group.

"Mr. DiPina was in fear and discharged his fire arm three to five times at Mr. Franklin," said Shaw.

Franklin died on the scene. DiPina and his group fled.

DiPina went to police later that day to explain what happened. He was charged with manslaughter and booked in the Pinellas County Jail. DiPina was released on bail early Sunday morning.

Franklin's friends and family described him as a friendly, small statured man who, at 5'8'' and 160 lbs, would not have risked picking a fight in traffic with two cars full of men.

St. Petersburg Police said Franklin allegedly getting out of his car is what they advise drivers not to do in a road rage situation.

"If you do encounter an aggressive or a road rage driver, make sure you put a lot of distance between yourself and that person, and don't take things personally," said Shaw.

According to police, it's best not to even wave or gesture if you cut someone off.

"That might be mistaken as giving them the one finger salute," explained Shaw.

Franklin's loved ones are hoping unreleased surveillance video near the shooting will give them clarity on how this incident got so out of hand that Franklin lost his life.

The video footage likely will not be released until later this week, according to St Pete Police, as detectives and the Pinellas County State Attorney's Office continue their investigation into the shooting.

 

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