State Attorney Jack Campbell announces no charges in John Kuczwanski shootout

John-Kuczwanski ART
Campbell said that the shooting that killed Kuczwanski was a “clear case of self defense."

State Attorney Jack Campbell announced Friday that there will be no charges filed in the Jan. 6 death of John Kuczwanksi.

Kuczwanski, the Legislative Affairs Director for the State Board of Administration, was killed in a shootout triggered by a road rage incident in north Tallahassee. Campbell told WCTV that investigators reviewed multiple surveillance videos of the shooting between the two drivers. 

Campbell said the videos showed Kuczwanski fired first at the other driver, then the other driver fired back in a “clear case of self defense. The other driver, who law enforcement have not identified, was taken into custody at the scene but was released after questioning.

The case is not officially closed pending the final ballistics report, so no official information is available, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

There are conflicting reports about what happened, though it appears events escalated to fatal violence following a traffic incident.

Sources familiar with details of the investigation told Florida Politics that Kuczwanski caused the auto accident that began the chain of events, and that he began the shootout that led to his own death.

The sources said the incident began after Kuczwanski’s BMW drifted out of its lane while heading north on Thomasville Road. That’s when the BMW hit a white Prius.

Both cars pulled into a parking lot. The driver of the Prius confronted Kuczwanski about hitting him, the sources said. The Prius’ driver then returned to his car to wait for law enforcement’s arrival after confronting Kuczwanski. That is when, according to Florida Politics’ sources, Kuczwanski rammed his BMW into the Prius on the driver’s door, and began pushing the car sideways in the parking lot.

Kuczwanski then shot a gun at the white Prius, according to the sources. The Prius driver drew a gun and fired back into the windshield of Kuczwanski’s BMW. Kuczwanski was hit and killed, according to the sources.

The driver of the Prius then exited their vehicle on the passenger side and took cover not knowing if Kuczwanski was about to fire back.

Previously, Kuczwanski pleaded no contest to assault and disorderly conduct charges in 2014 related to a separate road rage incident at the same intersection, as first reported by Tallahassee Reports.

According to the probable cause affidavit for that case, deputies were dispatched after a driver called to report that another driver 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.”

Law enforcement found Kuczwanski still inside the vehicle matching the description from the caller when they responded to that 2014 incident. A deputy verified that Kuczwanski had a weapon matching the caller’s description and arrested him on the scene. He was later sentenced to probation, which was completed in 2018.

Kuczwanski, 52, graduated from Florida State University in 1992 with a degree in political science. His career in Tallahassee included working as former Sen. Debby Sanderson’s chief of staff, communications director of the Department of Management Services, and more than 11 years with the State Board of Administration.

The Jan. 6 incident took place less than two miles away from Kuczwanski’s home. He leaves behind his wife, and two children.

Tristan Wood

Tristan Wood graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a degree in Journalism. A South Florida native, he has a passion for political and accountability reporting. He previously reported for Fresh Take Florida, a news service that covers the Florida Legislature and state political stories operating out of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. You can reach Tristan at [email protected], or on Twitter @TristanDWood

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