The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says that the truck driver shot to death by another trucker while driving on Interstate 10 Saturday near exit 351 in Jacksonville appears to have pulled out in front of the suspect prior to being shot to death.
Authorities have issued alerts throughout the country asking anyone to come forward about a suspect in a dull-orange, early to mid-2000s Century or Columbia Freightliner who authorities say pulled up alongside a truck being driven by 44-year-old New Jersey resident George Guerrero and shot several rounds into his cab, killing him.
The suspect is described as a bearded, black male who was towing a 53-foot long dirty, white trailer.
“The beard seemed to be a little bit longer on his chin,” Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jay Farhat told Hard Working Trucks this morning.
Writing on the side of the suspect’s truck indicates that he was possibly a private contractor, Farhat said.
Guerrero’s truck cab had been shot several times, Farhat said, though witnesses on the highway did not realize it at the time. Instead, 911 calls came in reporting what appeared to be an accident when Guerrero’s truck veered off the road after being possibly side-swiped by the orange Freightliner. Both trucks were traveling east bound on I-10 about a ½ mile west of the Chaffee Road exit at the time.
Authorities found Guerrero dead at the wheel, the back of his trailer protruding from the trees, still visible from the highway. When asked if Guerrero had been killed by gunfire, Farhat responded: “Yes, there’s no doubt about that. That’s not a question at all.”
Prior to being shot, Farhat said Guerrero had crossed into the left-hand lane in front of the orange Freightliner.
“It appears that our victim was going through a construction zone and went from the right lane into the left lane in front of the suspect, possibly cutting him off inadvertently,” Farhat said. “As soon as our victim got over into the right hand lane, the suspect pulled up alongside in the left hand lane, extremely close, possibly even bumping his truck. And then it appears he even fired multiple shots into the cab, killing the victim.”
Witnesses that have talked to authorities so far have not reported seeing the shooting.
“Everybody saw the truck come alongside, get extremely close, and then all of a sudden the victim veered off I-10 and barreled into the woods. They all called in that it was possibly an accident,” Farhat said.
“They thought the guy got close and possibly bumped him off the road. When we got to the scene, we quickly realized that it wasn’t a crash. There were multiple rounds fired into the cab.”
The black box in Guerrero’s truck will be analyzed for truck data tomorrow or Wednesday. Autopsy and ballistics reports are pending.
Farhat said cameras placed along I-10 monitor traffic and do not record, so anyone with video or photo evidence of the suspect or his truck is urged to come forward.
“We’re hoping that some of the trucks that were behind this may have some video, but we have been unsuccessful at this point,” Farhat said.
“We’ve hit all the weigh stations, the truck stops, gas stations, and we’ve put out alerts pretty much throughout the whole country. Usually, the trucking community takes care of itself. So, it’s been unusual that you have another truck driver in an incident like this. It’s just not commonplace.”
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or by email at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous are asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. Callers to Crime Stoppers may receive an award of up to $3,000.
Hard Working Trucks also contacted the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. In earlier reports, both agencies were reported as having responded to the murder scene. FDLE said that they would look into the incident and report any relevant findings. FHP by responded email in the early afternoon today and said, “This incident was ultimately handled by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.”