A Central Florida man who had been in an altercation at an Adamo Drive topless club on Saturday took out his vengeance on the wrong man, shooting and killing Fred William Turner Jr. as the victim phoned in the drama along Interstate 4, investigators said.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office investigators said that Jerome Edward Hayes, 48, of Saint Cloud, turned himself in Monday morning at the Orient Road Jail. Hayes has been charged with first-degree murder with a firearm and was being held with no bond.
"Although we know this arrest won't take the place of Mr. Turner's life, we hope it provides some closure to his family and friends," said Col. Donna Lusczynski of the sheriff's department of investigative services.
She dismissed speculation over the weekend that the killing might have been a case of road rage, saying the "tragic and unnecessary death" involved a case of mistaken identity and a victim in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Hayes has an initial appearance in Hillsborough County Circuit Court scheduled for Tuesday morning.
The sheriff's office said Hayes and a companion got into a fight with another patron at the Tampa Gold Club at 6222 Adamo Drive on Saturday afternoon. The two men were ordered to leave the club, which advertises full liquor and topless dancers.
Turner, meanwhile, had been at the Tres Equis adult video arcade, a separate business that shares the same building and parking lot. Investigators said the two men waited outside after being thrown out of the Gold Club and then wrongly identified Turner as their adversary when he left Tres Equis.
At about 3 p.m. Saturday, Turner called 911 and reported he was being followed by a man who was armed with a pistol as he traveled eastbound on I-4. The 47-year-old Orlando resident told dispatchers he first noticed the man in a newer model dark gray Ford Taurus parked on the side of Adamo Drive as he left the arcade.
According to the sheriff's office, Turner updated dispatchers that the suspect was less than a car length behind him; shortly afterward, he advised that the man was pulling alongside the right side of his Ford Mustang.
Unknown noises were then heard on the 911 call, described as possibly gunfire or bullets striking the victim's vehicle. The dispatcher then lost contact with Turner.
Turner was found dead on the north side of the eastbound lane of I-4 near the overpass of I-75, shot three times in the upper body.
The sheriff's office has not yet released the 911 call.
Witnesses said they saw the men from the nightclub in the Taurus, and one of the men was seen pulling an unknown object out of the car's trunk before leaving the parking lot, the sheriff's office said.
Detectives identified one of the suspects as Hayes.
Hayes' attorney, Nick Matassini Jr. of Tampa, said Hayes was interviewed by law enforcement officers on Sunday. Hayes surrendered the Taurus and at least one firearm.
Investigators are questioning the second man who was in the car with Hayes. That person "could face a variety of charges based on his actual involvement," Lusczynski said. Neither she nor sheriff's deputies would identify the person. Hayes was believed to be driving the Taurus, investigators said.
After the shooting, the interstate became a crime scene and was shut down in the vicinity of the I-75 overpass for eight hours.
Hayes was described as a manager for an Orlando-area metal recycling firm. He has had minor issues with the law: a metal recycling issue in Polk County in 2007 and a charge of dealing in stolen property in Pasco County in 2008 that were both dismissed.
Investigators did not know what brought Hayes and Turner to the Tampa area from central Florida.