June 20, 2024


Automotive to Us

Orange City woman fatally shot after pointing gun at man

ORANGE CITY — An Orange City woman who was also a Volusia County librarian was fatally shot Saturday after she pointed a handgun at a man whose motorcycle she had earlier hit and the man returned fire.

The shooting occurred at about 5:14 p.m. at the woman’s home in the 1000 block of E. Wisconsin Ave., said Orange City Police Lt. Jason Sampsell.

In a press release, the police identified the woman as Sara-Nicole Morales, 35. A press release from Volusia County identified Morales as an employee of the county’s library system.

The motorcyclist was identified as Andrew Derr, 40, also of Orange City. He has not been charged, and police said he has been cooperating with the investigation from the beginning.

Morales drove to the Wisconsin Avenue home after she hit the motorcyclist on Volusia Avenue/US 17-92. The motorcycle was not badly damaged, and Derr followed her to the home, and at one point he told Morales to stop and that police had been called, said Orange City police Lt. Jason Sampsell.

A 9-1-1 recording of the incident indicates Morales pulled a gun on Derr on the street in front of her Orange City home.

“You are three men who followed me, you were screaming at me,” Morales can be heard shouting.

Before Morales could finish talking, eight gunshots can be heard in the recording.

“She tried to pull a gun on me,” a man can be heard saying.

A witness then told the 9-1-1 dispatcher, “The lady is shot. The dude on the bike shot her. He shot her in self-defense.”

Morales intentionally struck Derr’s motorcycle, but because the motorcycle was moving, Derr was not injured, Sampsell said. Morales and Derr exchanged words just before she struck him, Sampsell added.

“We don’t know why she hit him.” Sampsell said. “She swerved into him and prior to the vehicle making impact he warned her to stay away, and he is pulling away and she gets to the side of him and comes right into him.”

The motorcyclist and two other witnesses, who did not know each other, then followed Morales to her home in attempt to help identify her for police, Sampsell said.

Once at the home, Morales exchanged words with Derr and the witnesses and then went into her house and came back with a gun, the lieutenant said.

“Morales pointed a handgun at the witnesses and Derr,” a press release states. “Derr having a valid Florida concealed weapons permit, drew his concealed handgun and fired multiple rounds, striking Morales.”

Morales was hit several times. She was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center where she died of her injuries, Sampsell said.

Morales’ handgun was recovered on-scene, investigators said. Derr remained on scene, the press release states.

The Orange City Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office are continuing to investigate the shooting.

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“The investigation into the shooting is on-going and no one has been charged at this point in time,” Sampsell said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Orange City Detective Kenneth Jones at 386-775-9999.

The county’s press release stated that Morales’ death prompted the temporary closure of the DeLand and Pierson libraries to allow staff to grieve. Morales had been a library assistant since 2019.

“The County’s focus right now is with our employees and all those who’ve been impacted by Sara’s death,” the press release stated. “The county’s critical incident stress management team (CISM) as well as grief counselors are being made available to provide emotional support to our employees. We are unable to comment on the details of the incident, as they are the subject of a law enforcement investigation.”

“Our immediate concern is for the welfare of Sara’s family, her library colleagues, and all of our county employees,” said Volusia County Deputy Manager Suzanne Konchan in the press release. “We are all shaken up by the incident. As we grieve the loss of one of our own, we stand together in wholeheartedly supporting one another during this difficult time.”

On Monday, Morales’ boyfriend, Wilber Perez, said his girlfriend was scared after being chased down by three men all the way to her home.

“She is not the kind to give trouble or just go about pulling a gun on people,” Perez said. “She must have been really scared having her mother and her 11-year-old daughter at home.”

Morales was five months pregnant and the couple were getting engaged soon, Perez said.

According to Perez, Morales’ mother, Doreen Flaherty, saw her daughter with her hands in the air telling Derr and the others to leave when she was shot.

“She was shot dead in her own yard,” Flaherty said in a text message. “She is gone at 36 years old. She was pregnant with her second child and she leaves her 11-year-old daughter and a loving fiance.”

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Police: Orange City woman fatally shot after pointing gun at man