Car rammed, shot at by 2 men on Thanksgiving in Lake County, deputies say

Men claimed shooting was in self-defense, no evidence found to suggest that is the case, records show

(Left) Joel Anzo, 18 (Right) Alexis Rodriguez, 26 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – An attack on the road on Thanksgiving day has two men facing charges in Lake County, according to deputies.

According to the arrest affidavit, two men — Joel Anzo, 18, and Alexis Rodriguez, 26 — tried to speak with a man at a Circle K gas station along State Road 44 near Eustis. The man told deputies he ignored the men, got into his red Ford Mustang and drove off, records show.

The victim said he spotted the two men in a white Chevrolet car behind him, according to the affidavit. The man said he feared Anzo and Rodriguez were following him along S.R. 44, so he decided to turn onto Tomahawk Trail, the report reads.

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As the man went to make the turn, deputies said Anzo and Rodriguez rammed the back of the victim’s car, causing him to spin out. The victim’s Mustang was sideways in the road when Anzo and Rodriguez then opened fire on the car, investigators said.

The victim was not hit by the gunfire and managed to drive away, records show. He then called 911.

Investigators said they interviewed Anzo and Rodriguez. The men claimed that the driver of the Mustang stopped abruptly in front of them and then fired a shot at their car, records show. Anzo and Rodriguez claimed they returned fire in self-defense; however, deputies said they found no evidence that suggests the driver of the Mustang ever opened fire on Anzo and Rodriguez.

Both men face charges of aggravated battery and shooting into an occupied vehicle.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.