By Peter D'Oench

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NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Road rage is being blamed for a deadly shooting on State Road 826/Palmetto Expressway in Northwest Miami-Dade.

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It’s not clear what prompted the violent incident between the driver of a black Nissan and a semi-tractor trailer but when it was over, the driver of the tractor trailer was dead.

CBS4 was on the scene as a man was taken into custody and taken away by police for questioning at Miami-Dade Police headquarters.

Late Friday afternoon, Miami-Dade Police Det. Alvaro Zabaleta made a special plea to the public. He said police were having trouble finding the gun that was used.

“It may have ended up on a passing vehicle,” he said. “We just don’t know. That’s why we need help from the public.”

Zabaleta is urging anyone who has found the weapon to call Miami-Dade Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers.

CBS4 has learned that the tractor trailer was owned by D.M. Express of St. John, Indiana in the northwest part of the state. A spokeswoman for the company told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she the driver of the tractor trailer was not from Indiana. She was not certain what he was delivering.

In video from Chopper4 over the scene, the body of the victim could be seen under a yellow tarp on the southbound exit ramp to NW 25th Street. Neither he nor the driver of the tractor trailer have been identified.

“The driver of the tractor trailer did exit the vehicle and walk toward a black Nissan. The driver of the Nissan got out,” said Zabaleta. “There was a physical confrontation between both of them. We’re being told the driver of the tractor trailer was armed with a knife during the confrontation and that’s when the driver of Nissan produced a firearm and shot the victim in this case. This is road rage that lead to this shooting.”

Zabaleta said it is not known if this was a case of self-defense. He said police would be receiving input from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.

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“Just like any Florida statute you have to have elements of the crime in order to be able to charge that crime so we have to wait and see and get the story from the shooter. We have to hear from witnesses as to what occurred. We have to look at the evidence and the totality of the circumstances and work with the State Attorney’s Office,” said Zabaleta.

Friday night, police scoured the expressway ramp with the help of a man involved in the deadly road rage incident. Police are hoping the man can help them find the gun he allegedly used on the driver of the semi.

The Florida Highway Patrol wants to educate the public about road rage.

“There is no need for confrontations, avoid traffic confrontations as much as you can,” said FHP spokesman Joe Sanchez. “If someone blows a horn at you, ignore it, continue. These incidents at times result in people getting injured and at times, people even losing their lives.”

Sanchez added, “Just avoid confrontations. Believe me. It will save us a lot of work and lives will be saved.”

Zabaleta said it’s a particular concern around the holidays.

“This is something that we must educate our community about, especially during the holidays where there is going to be a lot of traffic around the area and the malls. We have to be calm. Now we have a case where someone has lost his life and loved ones are not going to have that person for the holidays and coworkers are not going to have a person around either. This is a case of what can happen because of road rage.”

One person has been taken into custody for questioning.

Late Friday afternoon, Miami-Dade Police detectives returned to the exit ramp with him as they continued their investigation.

Police are also urging witnesses to come forward and call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477) if they have any information on this case.

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The off-ramp heading south toward Northwest 25th Street remained closed for 6 hours and reopened around 3:25 p.m.

Peter D'Oench