2 Dead Following Road Rage Shooting Incident
In Orange City, Florida, a road-rage incident results in two lost lives and a lifetime of agony for many others. What we can learn from this avoidable incident?
First, it’s important to point out that the incident is only about a few days old. Therefore we likely don’t know all the details. However, we know quite a bit about the actions of people involved in the fatal shooting on November 20th.
Some in the news will use this event to promote further the idea that folks with guns are irrational and dangerous by default. Therefore the government should curtail people’s access to firearms. Other’s view this incident as proof that people use firearms to protect lives. After all, the shooter appears to have acted in self-defense.
I’m not concerned with supporting or debunking either viewpoint.
I prefer to go through the timeline of events as we know them and see if we, as citizen defenders, can learn anything. I’ve found that typically, there are some good, questionable, and horrible decisions in these incidents. And we see this play out in this event as well.
Consider this post where we discuss how to develop a defensive mindset
Just after 5:00 PM on the 20th, a man called Andrew Derr rode his motorcycle in the 1400 block of N. Volusia Avenue. Sara Morales, the driver of a blue Kia vehicle, intentionally struck Morales with her car. Derr was uninjured.
Morales left the scene, driving South on U.S. Highway 17-92. According to reports, Derr and two third-party, unnamed witnesses followed Morales and caught up with her at the intersection of 17-92 and Wisconsin Avenue. The three attempted to keep Morales from leaving the scene.
The potential crime is at least a traffic collision, and at most, and assault with a deadly weapon (Morales’ car).
We don’t know what methods Derr and the other involved people used in their attempts to stop Morales. However, we do know that Morales refuses to stop and flees the scene.
Pursue or Stay:
At this point, it would be good to pause and reflect on what you may do in a similar situation.
Derr certainly has reason to pursue Morales. It’s unclear if he knew she intentionally hit him, but she certainly at least is attempting to flee the scene of a traffic collision. In these incidents, where no one is injured, it may be wise to obtain information such as vehicle tag number, color, make, the model direction of travel, and a driver’s description. Then remain on the scene and call the police.
Another option would be to do the same as mentioned above but follow along at a distance.
If you’re one of the witnesses, you could undoubtedly continue alongside Derr. However, consider that any involvement exposes you to an increased possibility of danger.
In this case, both Derr and the witnesses choose to follow Morales, although it’s unclear if they pursued her at high speeds or a distance.
Point of Contact:
Morales drives home while Derr and the witnesses follow. While following Morales, it seems that either Derr or one of the witnesses called the police and reported the hit and run traffic collision.
Upon reaching her home, Morales heads inside.
Derr and the witnesses arrive at Morales’ home and stop on the road at the driveway. They are still on the phone with the police dispatcher.
Morales obtains a handgun from inside her home. It is unclear when, but Morales also calls 911 to report aggressive men are threatening her.
Morales emerges from the house to confront Derr and the witnesses.
On the released 911 call recording from either the witnesses or Derr, we can hear Morales screaming:
You three men, you followed me, leave me alone
According to Derr and the witnesses, Morales confronts them, pointing the handgun at them in front of the house. Derr, a concealed carry permit holder, perceives Morales as posing a deadly-force threat, draws and shoots his gun, striking Morales.
Morales who is 5 months pregnant and her unborn child die from their gunshot wounds.
Post Shooting Decisions:
Police ultimately arrive on the scene, and we see on the released body cam video that Derr is cooperative with police commands. He is lying face down, prone out on the ground, and we don’t see the gun in his hand. Police handcuff Derr while he makes the following spontaneous statements:
I’m not moving. Please don’t shoot me. That girl tried to kill me. She pointed a gun at me. I’m so sorry
As stated, Morales and her unborn child died. Whatsmore she leaves behind an 11-year old child and a fiancé.
While it appears that police have determined Derr’s actions to be legal self-defense, he now must live with the consequences of his actions.
I regularly hear people say something like; I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. In other words, they would rather be alive and tried in court than dead. I get the sentiment. But real life doesn’t work that way, and quite often, there are ways to avoid both court and death.
Sure at the point, Morales pointed the gun at Derr and the witnesses; Derr was justified legally to use deadly force to defend himself and the other two people with him. But given a “do-over,” I imagine Derr and the witnesses would choose a different course of action. The pain of knowing your actions resulted in the death of a woman and a child doesn’t go away entirely because police don’t charge you with a crime.
Is it possible that even in being wrong in striking Derr with her vehicle, Morales was justified in being afraid of 3 men who tried to keep her from leaving the scene? I think so. But her actions following that were associated factors in what ultimately happened. She could have considered driving to the police station or continuing to drive while speaking to the police dispatcher. She could have gone until police arrived and only then stopped her vehicle. She even could have stayed inside her home, where it was safe.
In no way is this point meant to minimize the actions of Morales. But, unfortunately, her decisions directly lead to her death and the death of her child. When she exited the house armed with the gun, she could no longer reasonably claim she felt threatened by the three men. After all, she left her home’s safety and security to challenge three men she said she feared. Unfortunately, I see this sometimes happen when people are overly confident because they are armed. Her family now must live with the results of those decisions.
Something to consider is your home defense strategy. Perhaps if Morales had a home-defense plan in place, she would have stayed put inside her home while she waited for police to arrive.
Here is a link to our course titled Complete Home Defense
When she chose to hit the motorcyclist, at that point that was premeditated attempted murder. I would have shot her too when she came out with the gun.
There are rules for driving, if you choose not to observe those traffic laws and rules. You have intentionally chosen to ignore laws and rules then any thing you do is therefore an intentional act, you meant to do it.
Its that plain and simple, you have no need to look at the other looser in the car with you when you talk to them. You don’t need to look at your phone, or use your phone, etc.
Driving is a privilege not a right, and it comes with more responsibility than 90% of the drivers can handle or adhear to.
It’s not that plain and simple because women don’t generally hit other motorists for no damn reason. Something happened earlier, we may never know just what.
Notice the predicates: She Choose, She committed attempted Murder, etc. You’re a joke. FOR ONE THING, a guy who was almost murdered was pretty healthy to be speeding after a pregnant worman NO DOUBT scaring the —- out of her. AND HIS BUDDIES… were they also on Bikes? They obviously scared the hell outta her and she feared for her child and elder mother.
This entire incident is tragic but under the color of the law the male who used deadly force was justified. The female walked inside her home, grabbed a gun, walked outside and pointed it at the male. Yes we can go all day long that the male should of called the police but it still doesn’t negate the fact his use of deadly force was legally justified. The lady will not be doing this again.
The male can not ne sued civilly under Florida law if it is deemed the use of deadly force was justified. In Florida if a person is deemed to have used deadly force legally they are automatically given immunity from all civil suits.
You left out the precipitating event. Both parties attempted to access a lane of traffic. Derr on his bike and Morales in her car. Derr then kicked her car. Then she side swiped his saddle bag. At which point Derr and the “witnesses” a truck and a motorcycle decide to chase down a terrified pregnant woman and child. She ends up dead and we are ok with this?
Thank you Matthew, for writing a reflective piece that attempted to illicit deeper, reflective thinking, and a lesson for us all.
There are many details that have been clarified/changed/vetted since the initial reporting, making the AGs office response to pursue no charges absolutely egregious.
Derr was driving at a high rate of speed.
Derr immediately pursued Morales after she accidentally cut him off.
Derr drove up to her vehicle to yell at her
Derr kicked her vehicle
Derr and other motorists attempted to box in Morales
Derr followed her to her residence and did not leave
Derr saw Morales emerge from her home with a weapon
Derr did not leave
Derr did not contact police
Derr engaged in conversation with one of the ‘witnesses’
Derr turns again to Morales and immediately discharges 6 rounds, 5 making contact
Derr immediately exclaims “I did nothing wrong”
I did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong?
We do not know what Derr said to Morales
We do not know what prompted to Morales to drive “intentionally” into his car
We do not know if Derr or his ‘witnesses’ threatened Morales or her family
We do know that Derr was not injured
We do know that Derr never dismounted his bike to check his property or his person for damages
We do know that he did not call police
We do know that in the moments before firing multiple rounds, he was distracted and talking to one of the witnesses, and turned to see Morales making a gesture which he construed/confused for aiming
We do know that Morales called police
We do know that she felt scared
We do know that her daughter and mother were inside the house
We do know that her very last words were, “You were three men. You followed me. Leave me alone!” and was then killed by Andrew Derr who talking to a person and then turned and shoot her
Did police ask the witnesses, separately, on camera, to recreate how she was holding the gun in the moments preceding Derr shooting her? Did police ask them to do this again in the days following the incident?
Did police seek CCTV and dashcam footage from other motorists?
Did police ask the public to contact them with additional evidence?
Did police seek an expert to verify if the rate of speed and positioning of Morale’s vehicle was sufficient to only cause scratches? And reflect an intentional hit?
The problem with no charges is that Andrew Derr committed several crimes that November and received no charges. Not one. He gets to go on with his life and raise his children with the same toxic thinking. That is the real crime. An inheritance of lunacy.
May the karmic police apply justice where the Orange City police did not.
May Morales’s family find peace.
the shooter is a friend of mine, so I will fill you all in on the missing details. he was out riding his motorcycle. at the end of the ride he came up to a stoplight at 1792, and Orange camp road. the woman in the blue car was sitting in front of him at the red light. they had no previous contact. when the light turned green both of them turned into the right lane. it’s a three-lane highway right there. after they made the turn Andrew went for the far left lane. he made it to the Lane, and she apparently got mad about it and tried to run him off the road. she crossed over two lanes to try and run him off the road. the only reason she missed is because he sped up at the last second. she missed him by inches. he then got over to the right lane. then the road turns into two lanes. she pulls up next to him in the left lane. he gestures at her and yells something to the effect of what the f——- you almost hit me. keep in mind he had a full face helmet and gloves on at the time. after yelling at her he hit the gas to take off and right when he did that she swerved into him. they were doing 45 miles an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone. when she hit him on the left saddlebag, it sent his bike sliding sideways to the right. it was very violent and he almost wrecked his motorcycle. the hard plastic saddle bag absorbed most of the impact, breaking, and keeping him from being injured. there was no high rate of speed. two motorists that did not know him witnessed her intentionally strike him after trying to strike him intentionally the first time. they gave Chase. the man on the motorcycle also followed. the very next intersection from Orange camp was her street, Wisconsin avenue. they followed her 1 intersection. no one tried to block her in, when she stopped to make the turn on Wisconsin the three men pulled up next to her and told her to pull over for the arrival of police. she screamed and yelled at them and made the turn anyway. they followed her until she whipped her car up into a driveway. she gets out of the car yells some stuff at them and then goes in the house. the men’s stayed in the road on the phone with 911. then the woman came back out of the house. charged all the way down to the road (100 plus feet), pulled out a gun, and pointed it at the three men. defender pulled his weapon and fired until the threat was ended. after the shooting, her mom came out of the house brandishing a firearm as well. (revolver she claimed later was empty) Andrew became frightened at that point that she would shoot him, and his gun was out of ammunition so he jumped on his motorcycle and drove about 75 ft down the road to hide behind some trees while calling 911 again. then the cops showed up and what you see in the video of the detainment happened. there was no road rage other than what she did, and no one kicked her car. there was damage to the motorcycle, the saddlebag was broken and scuffed. her car had a large dent on the front right side where her car made contact with the bike. none of the witnesses ever set foot on her property. not even close. and that yard that you see the motorcycle parked in off the side of the drive was her neighbors 75- 100 ft almost down the road.
———- Andrew Derr killed a woman and an unborn baby. She isn’t here to give her side.