Man accused of firing AR-15 at cows on Florida Turnpike

Elvis Artola, Jail booking photo

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — A West Palm Beach man is facing weapons charges after a motorist on the Florida Turnpike called 911 just before 6 p.m. Sunday to report a man, “hanging out of a car shooting a rifle at cows.”

By the time a trooper pulled over the suspect vehicle, investigators said Elvis Artola, 30, had been firing random shots with his Bushmaster AR-15 from northbound mile marker 233 to mile marker 249.

Ray Justiniano’s home backs up to the turnpike northbound near the St. Cloud exit at mile marker 240.

“It gets me really scared,” he said.

Justiniano said Sunday evening three of his grandchildren were in the backyard where the turnpike is in plain view.

“My children are playing in the backyard,” he said. “Something might go through the house.”

There were no immediate reports of anyone or anything hit by the shots.

A Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman credited a witness with calling 911 and helping troopers find the vehicle still on the turnpike in Orange County.

“The man put others at risk by shooting out of the vehicle,” said FHP Sgt. Kim Montes.

The vehicle driver, who was not identified and not charged, said he didn’t know if Artola was trying to hit anything or “if he was just shooting to shoot.”

The FHP said Artola owns the weapon legally. He’s facing charges of improper exhibition of a weapon and discharging the weapon in public.

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