Convicted road rage killer gunned down in Florida traffic dispute
A convicted road rage murderer was killed Wednesday after getting into an altercation with a driver in a separate traffic incident, Florida officials said.
Gary Lynn Durham, 40, who served 11 years behind bars for killing a man in a 2001 road rage dispute, got into the confrontation with motorist Robert Padgett, 42, at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday in Plant City, Florida, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
"They were going back and forth in a road rage incident, and the shooter reportedly had tried to avoid and evade him, and at some point, the deceased guy ended up getting in front of him and stopping in the middle of the roadway and getting out and came back and confronted him," Larry McKinnon, a spokesman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, told NBC News.
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Padgett then fired at least one round from his semi-automatic handgun. He then administered CPR on Durham while waiting for deputies to arrive, officials said. Durham later died.
According to police records, Durham was arrested and charged with manslaughter in November 2001 after following a driver who he exchanged words with while behind the wheel. Durham approached Timothy Gibbs, 48, in a parking lot and punched him so hard it left him brain dead. Gibbs later died in a hospital.
Gibbs' widow Nancy told NBC affiliate WFLA after hearing of Durham's death, ""I know it's not the Christian thing to say, but this is poetic justice."
Durham's killer, Padgett, was not arrested, and no charges have been filed while authorities investigate the incident, McKinnon said.
Charges will hinge on whether investigators determine Padgett was acting in self-defense — and whether his actions meet the legal requirements of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" doctrine.
Normally, a citizen has a duty to retreat when confronted with what they perceive to be deadly force. But Stand Your Ground mostly removes that, meaning individuals who feel threatened are no longer required to try to quell a situation first before they have the right to use deadly force in self-defense.
Florida enacted its Stand Your Ground law in 2005.
"If you had the opportunity to disengage and had wiggle room to get out of the situation, that's what the [self-defense] law requires you to do — otherwise, you could face criminal liability," McKinnon said. "But when Stand Your Ground took effect, that pretty much in essence took away an individual's obligation to have to take that road."
Once the investigation is complete, the state attorney's office will review it and determine whether it meets the requirements of a Stand Your Ground case.
"It's going to be a little more difficult in this case, when your aggressor ended up having a prison stint for the exact same thing, almost," McKinnon said.