ORLANDO, Fla. – Deputies have arrested the suspect in a shooting that took place earlier this week between the occupants of two vehicles traveling on the Beachline, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Saidel Perez, 41, is accused of shooting at a group of men Thursday afternoon after they tried to intervene when they saw Perez allegedly beating a woman while he drove along State Road 528.
John Epley, the driver of the truck carrying the group of men, told News 6 they were driving at a toll booth around 5:30 p.m. when they looked over and saw Perez hitting the woman several times and pulling her hair.
Epley, a veteran, said he couldn’t help but intervene, so he pulled up alongside the couple’s truck.
“(My co-workers and I) asked him to stop hitting her,” Epley said.
Epley said Perez then rolled his window down and seemed outrage while trying to get out of his truck, so the men drove away.
Perez followed Epley and his co-workers until the vehicles were eventually side by side, which is when Epley said his passengers saw that Perez had a gun.
“My guys hollered he had a gun, so I showed him my gun, hoping that would be the end of it,” Epley said. “(I) went as fast as (I) could go to get out of the way. He got beside us and shot into my back window -- (at) two of my employees. I tried to shoot two rounds out the window so he would stop.”
That’s when the driver sped off, Epley said. The shooting happened at the Consulate Drive exit.
Epley saw that his co-workers were bleeding badly, so he pulled over at a nearby Hampton Inn and called 911. One of the victims was shot in the arm and the other was shot near his neck.
At the Hampton Inn, the group met with officials and told deputies about the physical fight that they had witnessed between the man and woman. Deputies investigated the victims’ truck and the gun they used to return fire.
Meanwhile, Perez's girlfriend dropped him off at the McDonald's and then took off. Deputies said have not been able to locate the woman.
Perez was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he had to undergo surgery, deputies said.
He is facing charges of aggravated battery with a firearm and shooting into an occupied vehicle, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said Epley is not facing any charges in connection with the shooting.