Citrus County deputies shoot, kill armed suspect after pursuit

Citrus County deputies exchanged gunfire with an armed suspect in Floral City Sunday morning, eventually killing the suspect.

Officials said the incident started around 9 a.m. when the suspect was shooting a high-powered rifle at the Sabal Trail Pipeline and pipeline equipment in Marion County.  The suspect fled from Marion deputies and a chase ensued that went into Citrus County.

According to investigators, the suspect crashed on U.S. Highway 41 near Floral Park Drive.  Officials said that's when the suspect opened fire on deputies, who returned gunfire.

The unidentified suspect was killed in the shooting.  No deputies were injured.

Deputies said the man was in his 60s and not from Citrus or Marion counties.  His motives are unclear.

The pipeline site has been a place of protest over the last few weeks. Just this week, deputies arrested two protesters for climbing inside the pipeline.

Deputies say protesters told them they didn't know the shooter.

"They deny any knowledge of him. Matter of fact, they wanted to convey to us and everybody that they are there for peaceful demonstration," said Paul Bloom, spokesman for the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

A spokeswoman for Spectra Energy, the company which owns the pipeline, told FOX 13 they were aware of the incident and still assessing the damage.

No workers were on the site at the time of the shooting, according to the spokeswoman.