Nevin BrownAll materialsJohn Kuczwanski, 52, the Legislative Affairs Director for the State Board of Administration and former Chief of Staff to a Florida state senator, died Thursday, January 6, from gunshot wounds suffered in a shootout he triggered through a road rage incident.Kuczwanski allegedly caused an auto accident when his BMW drifted out of its lane and hit a white Toyota Prius, according to those familiar with the case.The two cars pulled into a parking lot, and the driver of the Prius confronted Kuczwanski over the accident. The driver then returned to his Prius to wait for police to arrive at the scene.Before police could arrive, however, Kuczwanski rammed his BMW into the driver side door of the Prius, pushing the car sideways across the parking lot. Kuczwanski then pulled a gun and opened fire on the other driver. It is not believed that he struck anyone.
The driver of the white Prius, however, quickly drew their own firearm and shot through the front windshield of the BMW, hitting Kuczwanski and killing him. EMS and police found Kuczwanski in critical condition and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. The driver, after returning fire, exited his car and took cover until EMS and the police arrived.
The road rage shootout in north Tallahassee occurred near the intersection of Bannerman Road and Thomasville Road and an investigation is ongoing.The Leon County Sheriff’s Office took one person into custody following the shootout, but that person was released and no charges were filed.Kuczwanski’s wife, Rebekah Kuczwanski, claimed that her husband was the victim. She asserted that he was trapped and “assassinated,” and that his violent and aggressive attack was intended as a means of escaping the driver of the Prius.According to Kuczwanski’s wife, her husband was “on his way home early to pick us up for a farewell dinner for our daughter.” She added, “He called to say he was on his way to beat traffic. He was excited for dinner and to see us. He told us he loved us then never came home.”Kuczwanski had a previous gun-related road rage incident at the same intersection when in 2014, officers were dispatched when another driver reported that a man had “pointed a small, black in color handgun with a mounted laser at him while stopped next to him at the intersection of Thomasville Road and Bannerman Road.”
At the time of the incident, officers found Kuczwanski inside the vehicle with a weapon matching the driver’s description. Kuczwanski was arrested on the scene and pleaded no contest to charges of assault and disorderly conduct. For that infraction, Kuczwanski was sentenced to probation, which he completed in 2018.Kuczwanski had been Florida state Senator Debby Sanderson’s chief of staff.