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Shot on I-4, former Clearwater man described as hard-working

Fred William Turner Jr., 47, was killed Saturday on I-4 by another motorist.
Fred William Turner Jr., 47, was killed Saturday on I-4 by another motorist.
Published Jul. 1, 2013

The Orlando man whose fatal shooting Saturday on Interstate 4 was captured on a police call was a hard-working hotel employee who loved his job and stayed friends with his ex-wife years after their divorce, according to people who knew him.

Fred William Turner Jr., 47, died Saturday after telling a 911 dispatcher he was being followed by a man in a silver or gray Ford Taurus after he left a store in Tampa.

Turner told dispatchers the man pulled up next to him, rolled down a window and brandished a gun, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

He said he did not provoke the man, who followed him onto I-4 from the area of N 50th Street and E Columbus Drive.

Turner was still on his cellphone as he approached the Interstate 75 overpass and the dispatcher heard shots ring out.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said Turner pulled his green Ford Mustang over near the overpass and died about 3 p.m.

Investigators would not disclose the name of the store where the episode may have begun, nor release a recording of Turner's 911 call.

The gunman was still on the loose Sunday, authorities said.

"I hope they find the person who did this," said Marie Schlesak, who said she kept in touch with Turner even after his divorce from her daughter, Lillian, about five years ago. "I thought of him as a son."

Schlesak, who lives part-time in Florida and Illinois, said she doesn't know why Turner was in Tampa on Saturday.

He used to live in Clearwater with his wife before they were divorced. He did not have any children, Schlesak said.

She described him as "a lovable man" and "hard worker" who had once been in the military and enjoyed his job as head of housekeeping at a hotel in Orlando.

Schlesak said her daughter, Lillian Schlesak, was devastated about Turner's death and had been bombarded with media calls. Lillian Schlesak did not return a call from the Tampa Bay Times.

Neighbors at Turner's apartment near Walt Disney World described him as an amiable guy who often kept to himself.

One neighbor told Bay News 9 that Turner liked to spend time working on his motorcycle and his car.

Turner's killing remains under investigation and is being handled by the Sheriff's Office, Tampa police and the Florida Highway Patrol because the pursuit and shooting spanned all three jurisdictions.

Authorities from the three agencies scoured the area near the incident for eight hours Saturday, snarling traffic.

Portions of the interstate are watched by aerial traffic-monitoring cameras, but Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Steve Gaskins said he thinks it's unlikely the cameras will help solve the shooting.

The cameras are designed to monitor traffic and pinpoint accident locations. They produce a live feed from hundreds of feet in the air and do not record, he said.

"Did we actually spot anyone on the cameras? No we didn't," Gaskins said. "I'm not aware of us seeing anything until the incident happened and (Turner) pulled over."

Law enforcement was urging people with information on the case to call Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay toll-free at 1-800-873-8477.

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at bdavis@tampabay.