Florida man charged with murder after high-speed biker gang shootout on interstate

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A 33-year-old woman has died after being injured in an early Friday biker shootout on Interstate 4 in Florida, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities have charged the woman’s boyfriend, 38-year-old Ronald Donovan, with felony murder and attempted first-degree murder, as well as additional charges, the sheriff’s office said in a Saturday tweet.

“I want to take you back in time…to the 1880s. Do you remember watching the old Westerns where the outlaws were chasing each other through the countryside and shooting at each other?” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a Friday press conference. “Well, let’s advance to 2021. The same thing happened last night, except the outlaws, instead of being on horses were on motorcycles. I guess you could call them iron horses. What I’m about to tell you is just a messed up situation by a bunch of messed up people.”

Police at 12:07 a.m. Friday responded to a motor vehicle crash on I-4 and found the female victim “lying on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound to her head,” deputies said in an incident report. The woman was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

While deputies responded to the motor vehicle crash, they also received a 911 call reporting a shooting at a Papa John’s approximately five minutes away from the vehicle crash. Authorities discovered a second Hispanic male shooting victim at Papa John’s and transported him to a nearby hospital, where he remains in stable condition, as Fox 35 Orlando first reported.

The female victim, a witness at the scene and Donovan are part of a motorcycle club called the “Sin City Deciples” and were at a biker event earlier that evening in Tampa before they left to go home on I-4. As members of another motorcycle club called “Thug Riders” tried to pass the victim and suspect in the middle lane of the interstate, a shootout occurred while bikers were driving at about 100 mph, the incident report states.

Judd said during the press conference that bullet casings from three different firearms were located over a half-mile.

The second male victim told deputies that Donovan shot him first in the back, which is when he pulled out his gun and returned fire “due to being in fear for his life.” The second victim exited the interstate and went to Papa John’s when his legs began to feel numb.

Donovan, who refused to speak with deputies after being pulled over Friday, according to Judd, has prior felony convictions for burglary and aggravated burglary. 

“Let me warn you,” the sheriff said during the press conference while speaking directly to the biker clubs involved. “Retaliation will get you all locked up in prison for a very long time, and that’s a guarantee in Polk County. … Your stupidness has already gotten a 33-year-old, beautiful, young lady in a near-death situation and another man shot.”

He added that there has been “a lot of lying going on” and people refusing to talk about the incident. The sheriff’s office investigation is early and ongoing.

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