DUNNELLON, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) - Activity at the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline was on two fronts Monday morning in Dunnellon, a day after deputies say a man shot at the pipeline and construction equipment, with a high-powered rifle.
The Citrus County Sheriff's Office said on its Facebook page that 66-year-old James Leroy Marker was killed by officers after he shot and damaged a section of the pipeline. Workers were on the site fixing the damage Monday morning. FOX 35 counted more than 20 bullet holes.
Protesters continued their opposition to the project. They said they did not know the alleged shooter, but at least some of them did sympathize with what they see as his intent. Michael Clevenger, a demonstrator in front of the pipeline said
"I think he was in the right to protect our waters. I wouldn't go about it the way he did. I don't want to demonize him."
Most people were outraged that law enforcement ended up killing Marker.
"I think it was a travesty," Peter Ackerman, another demonstrator said "The threat here was not him. He attacked the black snake pipeline machine."
Deputies said Marker did, in fact, shoot at the pipeline with a high-powered rifle. Ocala resident, Chevy Mathews, said he saw it happen while driving to work Sunday morning.
"Right about there, a man was sitting with an assault rifle and combat gear," Mathews explained. "I thought he shot my car. I was on the phone with 911 the whole time."
Deputies in Marion County said they received several 911 calls, and after they responded, Marker took off, leading deputies and troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol on a 30-mile chase into Citrus County.
FHP said the man finally got out of his truck with a gun, and a trooper and Citrus County deputies both fired at him. Marker died at the scene, they said.
As for the impact on the pipeline, a worker on site told FOX 35 the damage was not major enough to delay their project.