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A pregnant woman was shot dead following a road rage incident that she allegedly instigated when she fled from the scene of an accident, police say.
Sara Nicole Morales, 35, intentionally hit motorcyclist Andrew Derr, 40, with her car on Nov. 20 at approximately 5:14 p.m., according to an Orange City Police press release. Though no one was seriously injured in the minor crash, Derr and other witnesses attempted to stop Morales in her blue Kia.
Derr and witnesses verbally commanded Morales to pull over and wait for officers to arrive, according to police, but Morales continued until she reached her Volusia County, Florida home.
She armed herself with a firearm.
“Morales went into her house and re-emerged a short time later,” according to the release. “Morales confronted the witnesses and Derr as they were on the phone with 911. Morales pointed a handgun at the witnesses and Derr.”
Shortly before the shooting, Morales allegedly yelled, “You followed me to my house,” according to 911 audio cited by Law & Crime. “You are three men, and you followed me!”
“She tried to pull a gun on me,” a man said in the audio.
Oxygen.com spoke with Lt. Jason Sampsell of the Orange City Police Department, who said independent witnesses supported Derr’s account of events, including Morales’s own mother.
“[Morales] actually pointed a gun at an individual who was armed,” said Sampsell. “No one knew he was armed. He was a licensed carrier of a concealed [weapon], never told anybody he was armed. This is backed up by all these independent witnesses, to include the deceased’s mother, who was also on scene.”
Derr shot Morales multiple times, according to the statement.
According to Sampsell, licensed gun carriers in the state of Florida have the right to use deadly force if they believe their life is in imminent danger of bodily harm or death.
“He acted within the guidelines of Florida state statute,” Sampsell told Oxygen.com. “It’s self-defense.”
Police recovered Morales’s handgun from the scene.
According to Sampsell, Morales had initially swerved into Derr’s motorcycle while on the road. After Derr called out to her, she purposefully swerved a second time, this time making impact, police said.
“According to the investigation and independent witnesses that actually tried to get her to stop, and these are people that do not know Mr. Derr, she had swerved into him without making contact, and he said, ‘Hey… you almost hit me!’” Sampsell said. “She pulled up beside him and hit his motorcycle as he was going down the road, intentionally.”
Sampsell said they had search warrants to examine the Kia and motorcycle, finding evidence that Morales sideswiped Derr’s motorcycle with the driver’s side of her car, prompting witnesses to try and stop Morales.
“Unbeknownst to them, they ended up going to her house,” said Sampsell.
Officers’ body cam footage captured Derr on the ground when police arrived at the scene.
“That girl tried to kill me. She pointed a gun at me,” Derr can be heard saying in the video emailed to Oxygen.com. “I’m so sorry.”
Morales died of her injuries at the hospital a short time later.
Morales was four to five months pregnant at the time of the shooting and had an 11-year-old daughter, according to Fox News. She was a librarian at the Pierson Public Library.
In light of the shooting, Pierson Public Library and Deland Regional Library closed their doors.
“The temporary closures are necessary to provide library staff time to cope with the stages of grief having lost one of their caring library assistants, Sara Morales, who died tragically Nov. 21,” according to a statement published by The West Volusia Beacon. “Volusia County staff are a close family, whose close and compassionate relationships are deeply affected by Sara’s death.”
No charges have been pressed against Derr.
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