66-year-old James Leroy Marker was shot and killed after he reportedly opened fire on the Sabal Trail Pipeline
After the shooting Marker got into a pursuit with law enforcement in the area
Police say once he was stopped Marker “engaged” officers
Three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave as standard Citrus County policy
A 66-year-old suspect is dead after officers say the man was firing live rounds at the Sabal Trail Pipeline on Sunday. James Leroy Marker was identified as the suspect who was later killed following a police chase.
At roughly 9:00 am on Sunday, Marion County received a phone call claiming that a man was firing at Sabal Pipeline equipment, as well as the actual pipeline with what was described as a “high power rifle.” It was reported that Marker caused “extensive damage” to a section of the Sabal Pipeline located in Marion County.
Three Officers Have Been Placed On Paid Administrative Leave
Marker then fled the scene, causing a pursuit to begin in Citrus County on Highway 200. Florida Highway Patrol assisted the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office in the pursuit.
Before Marker was able to make it to the Floral Park area, a CCSO officer deployed stop strips in Inverness. The stop strips were said to have impaired Marker’s ability to drive.
An FHP officer then managed to do a precision immobilization technique, causing both vehicles to come to a complete stop on the east shoulder of the highway.
It is reported that Marker “engaged” with law enforcement on the scene, at which point officers shot and killed him. There are mixed reports of Marker firing on the officers before they began shooting. CCSO has stated that they will not release any further information until the investigation is complete.
Three officers were said to be involved in the shooting, Det. Jason Strickland, Dep. Gabriel Gerena and Dep. Jericho McIntyre. All three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard CCSO policy for an officer-related shooting, while an investigation is conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Sabal Trail Pipeline
The Sabal Trail Pipeline is a 515-mile fracked natural gas pipeline that is set to run through Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The pipeline gained attention during the peak of the stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
For years, members of communities in Georgia and Florida have fought against the Sabal Pipeline. The pipeline will be disrupting 940 acres of wetlands.
A large part of the pipeline route will cross sensitive limestone or “karst” geology. The Gulf Restoration Network states that these areas are prone to sinkholes, which raises the chances of a pipeline rupture that could contaminate the Florida aquifer.