FLORAL CITY — Citrus County sheriff's deputies fatally shot a man who reportedly had been firing a high-powered rifle Sunday morning at construction equipment for the Sabal Trail Pipeline in Marion County.
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The man's name was not released pending notification of family members. No deputies were injured.
The shooting occurred on U.S. 41 south of Floral Park Drive in Floral City after a chase that began in northern Citrus County. It started after reports of the shooting around 9 a.m. Sunday along the pipeline construction site along State Road 200 in Marion County.
The $3.2 billion, 515-mile pipeline will transport natural gas from Alabama, Georgia and parts of Florida.
Protesters have raised concerns about the pipeline's potential to leak hazardous chemicals into wetlands and other waters it crosses under.
Two people protesting the gas pipeline recently wedged themselves into a section of the pipe in north Florida.
The man and woman were eventually removed Wednesday afternoon from the 3-foot-wide pipe after Marion County Fire Rescue responded.
One of the protesters, Carrie Ford, sent a video while lying inside the pipe saying she wanted to spread the word about the pipeline.
The motive for Sunday's shooting were unclear.
Citrus County deputies and the Florida Highway Patrol chased the suspect, who was involved in a crash on the side of the road adjacent to the Floral City Park.
At that point, the suspect engaged the deputies and was subsequently shot and killed, the Citrus sheriff's office said.
The officers involved will be placed on administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates.
"We know that the suspect was armed and extremely dangerous, and pending the examination of the evidence at the scene, we will be able to determine what other weapons he had in his possession at the time of the shooting,'' Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said.
"Fortunately, none of our Citrus County Deputies, Marion County Deputies or Florida Highway Patrol Troopers were injured as a result of this crime."
Officials with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project after saying the project's harm to the environment was properly minimized.
Information from the Associated Press and Ocala Star-Banner was used in this report.
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