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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Leesburg man arrested in road rage incident in Marion County

Christopher Willis
Christopher Willis

A Leesburg man was arrested after allegedly pulling out a firearm during a road rage incident at a Circle K in Marion County.

Police responded to a physical disturbance involving an alleged firearm at the Circle K gas station located at 15877 East Highway 40 on Saturday evening, according to a probable cause affidavit from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Upon arrival at the scene, law enforcement met with 55-year-old Christopher Willis. He advised he had a gun in his pocket and had pulled it in self-defense due to being in fear of his life. He then placed his hands in the air, leading to the recovery of a blue Cobra .22 caliber pistol from Willis’ right pocket. The hammer was observed to be back on the pistol, and it was loaded with two .22 caliber rounds, the affidavit said.

Willis told police that while traveling eastbound on Hwy. 40, he entered a double lane passing area. The male victim had attempted to pass him in the passing zone to which Willis admitted to speeding up to prevent the victim from passing. Willis advised that the victim then “cut him off,” causing him to veer into the grass by getting into his lane and proceeded to pull into the gas station, the affidavit said.

Willis admitted to pulling into the gas station and confronting the victim at the gas pump, the affidavit said. The victim kissed Willis, so he stated he responded by smacking the victim. The victim then punched Willis, to which Willis advised he pulled his gun out of his pocket in self-defense but denied pointing the gun at the victim.

During this conversation, law enforcement observed lacerations on the right side of Willis’ face, the affidavit said.

Three witnesses were spoken to during the investigation, the affidavit said. The first witness stated he observed Willis aggressively approach the victim and pull a gun. He further advised that Willis had no reason to be in fear of his life, to feel in danger, to follow the victim or to pull a gun on him.

The second witness advised that he did not see the victim kiss Willis, but he did observe Willis smacking the victim “first.” The witness took video footage towards the end of the alleged altercation which did not include anything physical. He then stated that he saw the victim running all around Circle K after Willis had pulled a gun on him to try to get away from Willis, the affidavit said.

The final witness, the victim’s girlfriend, was present during the incident and advised that she saw Willis rapidly approach the victim to chest bump him. She observed Willis slapping the victim and pulling a gun to aim at him. She explained that when she saw the gun, she quickly got in her vehicle and went to the other side of the gas station, the affidavit said.

Contact was then made with the victim, who advised that he had pulled into the gas station to get fuel, the affidavit said. He observed Willis getting out of his red Ford F150 pickup and advised that he came at him after following the victim for about three miles on Hwy. 40.

The victim stated that Willis threatened to beat him and end his life, the affidavit said. The victim attempted to go into Circle K for fuel, but Willis stopped him and began chest bumping him several times making first contact.

The victim advised he responded by kissing Willis, to which Willis slapped him in the face. The victim admitted to slapping Willis back before he pulled a gun on him. At that point, the victim ran in fear for his life, the affidavit said.

Law enforcement proceeded to go inside of Circle K to watch store video of the alleged incident. Willis was observed approaching the victim and bumping his chest several times. The kiss was not visible, but the victim was seen leaning towards Willis. Willis then hit the victim in the face, to which the victim returned the blow. Willis pulled a handgun from his pocket and pointed it at the victim as he was actively running away, the affidavit said.

At the end of the investigation, there was determined to be probable cause for Willis’ arrest on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and simple battery. He was seen by medics before being transported to the Marin County Jail. He was then released after posting $3,000 bond.

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