SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. — A fleeing murder suspect was shot and died in the median of Interstate 75 after a law enforcement pursuit that began in Citrus County on Thursday morning, deputies say.

  • Person wanted in Citrus County murder case shot, dies on I-75 in Sumter
  • Suspect identified as Salvatore Tirone, 70
  • Tirone avoided several stop-stick attempts, deputies say
  • Deputies: Driver pursued from SR 44 to SB I-75, where he fired on deputies

Shortly after 5 p.m. the suspect was identified as Salvatore Tirone, 70, of Broward County.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office described Tirone as a "jealous ex-husband who drove to Citrus County with the intent on killing his ex-wife's" new partner.

Citrus County deputies responded to calls of a shooting in the parking lot of the Quality Inn, located at 350 E Norvell Bryant Highway, in Hernando. 

Upon arrival, deputies located an older male laying on the ground. Deputies pronounced the man dead.  He was identified as Michael Quirello, 64.

Witnesses at the scene told deputies that the suspect fled from the scene in a vehicle, described as a black Mercedes Benz SUV. A good Samaritan and concealed weapons holder shot at him. The vehicle was subsequently spotted by another deputy. 

"He started firing shots at the guy that was chasing him," said witness Fritz Jenuleson. "I kind of snuck back toward the garage because I didn't know exactly what was going on."

A traffic stop was attempted on the suspect vehicle on Hwy 44, as it approached the Sumter County line.

Once in Sumter County, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, Florida Highway Patrol, and the Citrus County Sheriff's Office assisted in the pursuit of the suspect vehicle. 

The suspect vehicle evaded stop sticks at several locations in Sumter County. 

The vehicle began to travel south on Interstate 75, where it had eventually lost control and crashed. As law enforcement began to approach the vehicle, the suspect fired upon the officers, where law enforcement returned fire. Tirone was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Sheriff Mike Prendergast said the good Samaritan "likely saved lives."

"There is no further threat to the residents of our community and none of our deputies or innocent bystanders were injured," Prendergast said. "We greatly appreciate all the assistance provided to us by both the Sumter County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol, in stopping this armed, dangerous murder suspect. The courage of the good Samaritan likely saved lives today."

Southbound I-75 was shut down for hours near State Road 44. Two lanes reopened Thursday afternoon.