Police in Orange City, Florida are still investigating a shooting that took place over the weekend, but at the moment authorities believe an altercation that started as a hit-and-run ended with a motorist shooting a 39-year old woman in self-defense.
According to local press reports, a 36-year-old woman named Sara Nicole Morales intentionally hit a motorcyclist around 5 p.m. on Saturday before speeding off. The guy on the motorcycle ended up following Morales as she drove off, with several other witnesses tailing along and calling 911.
Police say the motorcyclist and others were trying to get Morales to stop but that she refused. She turned onto east Wisconsin and drove a mile or more to her home with the hit-and-run victim and several others in pursuit.
Police say Morales ran inside and came back out with a gun. On the call, you can hear Morales briefly yelling at the motorcyclist and then gunshots.
According to police, multiple shots were allegedly fired at Morales by the hit and run motorcycle victim, after he claimed she pointed a gun at him. Several of the witnesses backed that up.
“Why did he shoot her?” the operator asked.
“Because she pulled a gun out on him,” the caller replied.
Morales was shot by the motorcyclist at the scene, and succumbed to her injuries at a local hospital a short time later.
The man who shot Morales, who is a licensed concealed carry holder, is said to be cooperating with police, and the licensed concealed carry holder isn’t facing any criminal charges at the moment.
This is a tragic situation, with Morales leaving behind an 11-year old daughter who’s going to grow up without her mom. Not only that, Morales was pregnant at the time she was shot and killed. Unfortunately, based on the information provided by police, it does indeed sound like the armed citizen was in legitimate fear for his life when he shot and killed the woman who’d tried to hit him with her car just a few minutes prior.
What about the fact that he and other witnesses followed Morales to her home? Does that change who had the right of self-defense? Not really. There’s no indication that the motorcyclist or any of the witnesses had any intent to do Morales harm. It sounds to me that they were simply trying to keep an eye on her whereabouts until police arrived, and to date authorities haven’t said that either the motorcyclist or any of the witnesses who followed Morales to her home tried to get inside her residence or threatened her in any way.
So when Morales allegedly walked out of her home with a gun in her hand, neither the motorcyclist or any of the witnesses present posed a threat to her. But after she pointed her own gun at the man, she became a threat to his life and potentially the lives of the others on scene.
If Morales was concerned about the people outside of her home, she could have called 911 herself and asked police to respond. We’ll never know why she didn’t do that, but it seems reasonable to believe that she may have been reluctant to call police given her actions in the attempted hit-and-run a few minutes prior.
We also don’t know why she tried to hit a guy as he was riding his motorcycle, or why she tried to speed off rather than stick around to wait for police, or why she decided to grab a gun and confront the people outside of her home when they posed no threat to her. It sounds like Morales made a series of cascading mistakes on Saturday afternoon, and tragically, those mistakes culminated in pointing a gun at a man and losing her life as a result.