Man shot during road rage encounter in North Port facing felony charge

Carlos Echeverria-Pena, Sarasota County Jail booking photo
Carlos Echeverria-Pena, Sarasota County Jail booking photo

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – A man was shot in the cheek and shoulder during a road rage encounter and then he was arrested.

That man is facing a felony charge.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said just before 7:15 Friday morning, there was a case of alleged road rage between a pickup truck and an SUV.

On Friday morning, a silver, Dodge Ram driven by Michael Garza, 27, stopped at the intersection of US 41 and River Road. Right behind the vehicle was a gray Suzuki SUV. Carlos Echeverria-Pena, 24, was a passenger in the SUV.

Once stopped, Echeverria-Pena, walked over to Garza.

“He broke through the glass of the vehicle and struck him several times in the face,” said SCSO spokesperson Kaitlyn Perez.

In self-defense, Garza pulled out a concealed weapon and shot Pena twice.

Bullets hit Pena in the face and in the shoulder.

Garza was not charged with a crime, because deputies said he was acting in self-defense.  Garza has a permit to lawfully carry a firearm.

Once deputies arrived, they said Pena believed he was the victim.

“I think it’s fair to say that [Pena] actually thought he was the victim initially, because of course, he did suffer a couple of gunshot wounds,” explained Perez.

Pena was arrested and charged with burglary of a conveyance with battery, a felony charge.

Motorists tell 8 On Your Side it’s common for tempers to flare at the intersection.

“It don’t surprise me at all….I’ve had a crazy guy chase me and run me off the road,” said one woman.

“That’s really sad that we have so much anger and that’s how people deal with it. It’s heartbreaking. This is America. Come on, folks,” said another woman.

“I think a lot of it is about being in the right frame of mind before you get behind the wheel. Life’s too short for things like this,” said Perez.

Pena is currently out on $15,000 bond.

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