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Shooting, crash near UCF leave one person dead, deputies say

Search on for vehicle involved in incident

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The search is on for a Nissan Altima riddled with bullet holes after a shooting and multivehicle crash near the University of Central Florida on Thursday afternoon, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said a Florida Highway Patrol trooper working an unrelated traffic incident saw the white Altima and a black SUV involved in what appeared to be a race on Challenger Parkway near Research Parkway around 1 p.m.

FHP Sgt. Kim Montes said the trooper saw gunfire between the two vehicles, but it's unclear if shots were being fired from one or both vehicles.

"Certainly, this is dangerous behavior, we don’t want to see this on our streets," said Jane Watrel, Orange County Sheriff's Office public information officer.

The SUV lost control on Alafaya Trail and crashed head-on into another vehicle in the northbound lanes, Montes said. The man driving the SUV died at a local hospital from what authorities believe were gunshot wounds, according to Watrel.

The man who was in the passenger seat of the SUV ran away from the vehicle after the crash and was detained near a RaceTrac gas station on Alafaya Trail, according to authorities.

"The occupant took off running and ran to the side of the RaceTrac. He was detained by the trooper on the side of the RaceTrac," Montes said.

Deputies said that man was not injured and has been cooperating with the investigation.

"We are interviewing him. He’s being taken into for questioning and hopefully, we’ll learn more about how this whole thing started," Watrel said.

The woman driving the vehicle that was hit head-on was not injured in the crash.

Deputies said they are now looking for a white Nissan Altima that likely has bullet holes on its driver's side. Watrel said they believe the vehicle's two occupants are armed and dangerous.

"We are looking for that white Nissan Altima. There are believed to be two suspects inside. They are armed and dangerous but we want the public to know that this was not a random act, that we believe that the two victims were targeted," Watrel said.

Jeanette Kelly said that at about 1 p.m. Thursday, she witnessed the crash near UCF.

"I heard the gunshots, and then that's when I really paid attention and peeked around the corner," Kelly said. "I got out of the car and I saw the car go up, hit the other car basically, and I saw a guy a jump out."

Kelly said that she watched as other witnessed ran over to the man who was on the ground, attempting to save his life.

"I saw some people jump even over this bush here to go help him and, you know, there was a lady doing CPR and some people like really just trying to help him," Kelly said.

University of Central Florida Police Department officials said officers have been dispatched to campus entrances to make sure the Nissan Altima does not enter.

Those involved in the shooting are not connected to UCF and officials said there's no threat to the campus.

Anyone who sees the vehicle described above is asked to call 911 immediately.


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