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Pasco deputies believe road rage led to Land O'Lakes shooting

LAND O'LAKES — Deputies are still piecing together an apparent road rage incident over the weekend that ended in a shooting in which the gunman was described as the victim.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said detectives have not yet had a chance to talk to the 51-year-old man who was shot. The man, whose name has not been released, remained Monday at St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The incident happened around 5 p.m. Saturday while John Michael O'Mara, 75, was sitting in his vehicle on Preakness Boulevard, waiting to turn north onto Collier Parkway, when the man walked up to the driver's side window.

The man reached through an open window and punched O'Mara, a Pasco sheriff's report states. O'Mara shot the other man in the right shoulder and drove away. O'Mara called 911 when he got to his Land O'Lakes home.

Pasco sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin provided few details on the dispute that prompted the attack, saying only it appeared to be road rage. Tobin said the 51-year-old man was the primary aggressor in the fight.

"It appears that the victim (O'Mara) was acting in self-defense," he said.

Asked whether the incident might fall under Florida's "stand your ground" law, Tobin said the agency would have to speak with both parties before commenting.

O'Mara declined to speak with a Tampa Bay Times reporter at his home in Plantation Palms, a gated golf course community off Collier Parkway. He has no criminal record in Florida, and records show he had a concealed weapons permit as recently as 2010.

Next-door neighbor Alyssa Shaw, 24, called O'Mara "a bully" and said he has a history of starting arguments with neighbors. On July 4, 2011, she said, neighbors were shooting fireworks about 9:30 p.m. in the middle of the cul-de-sac when O'Mara came out with a broom and swept the fireworks toward a group of children.

Shaw said she was troubled when she heard about the shooting over the weekend. "I'm scared knowing he's riding around with a gun in his car," she said.

Contact Alex Orlando at aorlando@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

Pasco deputies believe road rage led to Land O'Lakes shooting 04/15/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 15, 2013 7:29pm]
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