MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Drivers found themselves in the middle of a terrifying road rage incident Thursday morning when a man was shot in the middle of a busy street at the height of rush hour, according to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
The man who fired those shots claimed it was self-defense.
It all unfolded around 7 a.m. near the busy intersection of Hacks Cross and East Holmes Road when investigators say two drivers exchanged words, possibly because one wouldn’t let the other merge.
"The road narrows down to one lane – Hacks Cross does coming out of Olive Branch – and apparently somebody thought somebody did something they shouldn’t have done," said Earle Farrell with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said both drivers got out of their cars at the East Holmes Road intersection and continued the fight.
"They start yelling at each other," Farrell said. "Apparently, the black man had a gun with him and the white gentleman reached for a pocket and the other gentleman with a gun said he shot him."
Farrell said the man was shot in the hand and leg, then got back into his SUV and took off.
He was later pulled over by Olive Branch Police and taken to the hospital, Farrell said.
He's expected to be ok.
The other man stayed on the scene and waited for deputies, insisting he shot the other driver in self-defense.
"The law is that if you feel threatened with your life, that you can defend yourself by any means possible," Farrell said.
But some drivers argue both men should have just drove away.
"That situation could easily be deescalated if you just remain in your car and everybody just kind of calms down," said Solomon Ball, who witnessed the aftermath when he was taking his son to daycare.
"There could be children in the car, it could be somebody’s sick mother," he said. "I would never get out of the car though, never get out of the car."
Investigators haven’t released the drivers’ names.
They’re still questioning the driver who fired those shots and say it’s too early to tell if he will face any charges.
There are surveillance cameras in the area, so law enforcement officers said they will try to pull the video to help determine what happened.