Marion County, FL - A suspect who shot at the Sabal pipeline with a high-powered rifle, James Marker, was shot and killed on Sunday, February 26, 2017, when he shot at police officers.
According to Orlando Sentinel, the incident began about 9:00 AM in Dunnellon. Marion County Deputies responded to a report of a man, later identified as Marker, using a high-powered rifle to shoot at the uncompleted pipeline and nearby equipment.
When officers arrived, James Marker fled into Citrus County and officers lost him for around 30 minutes. Citrus County Deputies along with Florida Highway Patrol Troopers then tried to stop Marker, who refused to stop. The chase lasted 25 miles and ended when one of the troopers used a 'precision immobilization maneuver', also known as a PIT maneuver, to stop Marker's vehicle. Marker crashed his vehicle on U.S. Highway 41 south of Floral Park Drive.
Sergeant Steve Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol said that "as both vehicles stopped, the suspect (Marker) fired upon the Citrus County Deputies and the Trooper, who both returned fire", according to WFTV. None of the Deputies or the Trooper, a four-year veteran, were injured.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting the investigation, and is being assisted by the Citrus County and the Marion County Sheriff's Offices. The Sabal natural gas pipeline has been controversial, and will be a total of 515 miles long. It will run through Florida, Georgia, and Alabama when it is completed.
Two demonstrators against the pipeline were arrested last week when they wedged themselves inside the pipeline and refused to come out. Demonstrators gathered on Monday, February 27, 2017, in support of Marker but no one was arrested. Marion County Deputies have stepped up patrols around the pipeline.
While we can all (hopefully) agree that eco-terrorism is wrong, we'd like to know your thoughts on the pipelines. Please let us know in the comments below.