MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WJHL) – An investigation is underway after a Johnson City man was killed in a shooting at Ocala National Forest in Florida.
According to a post from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a shooting at a Rainbow Gathering in the park at 10:40 p.m. on Friday, February 12.
Rainbow Gatherings are camping events consisting of people who gather together for short periods of time in remote areas to celebrate peace and harmony.
Deputies found Larry DeWayne Dugger, 41, of Johnson City, wounded at the scene. “Numerous bystanders” were tending to Dugger, according to deputies.
Dugger was transported to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 352-368-3542.
Chad Roseberry was raised with Dugger in Johnson City. They grew up together in the Tree Streets neighborhood of Johnson City.
“We were raised by the same man. We called the same man father. I mean, that’s my brother,” said Roseberry.
Roseberry recalls his brother as a traveler who made friends everywhere he went.
“If you met him, you were his friend. He’s a peace-loving nature guy. He loved to be outdoors,” said Roseberry.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has yet to release the identities of any suspects in the shooting death, asking the public to submit tips.
Roseberry says he’s spoken to two eye-witnesses of the shooting.
“Cars came through, speeding. It’s a gathering; there’s people, there’s animals,” he said. “Various people were yelling, ‘Hey, slow down, you’re going to hurt somebody, you’re going to hit somebody.’ The car proceeded to put it in reverse, roll the window down, and shoot Larry in the face.”
Roseberry said he’s recieved little communication from investigators in Florida since the shooting.
“I just feel like, they’re already kind of dismissing this. We’re not going to let it get dismissed,” he said.
Now Facebook groups with hundreds of members are calling for justice for Larry Dugger.
A GoFundMe has been set up online to assist Dugger’s mother in Tennessee with funeral costs. Roesberry said it is amazing to him that fund has already surpassed its goal of $3,000.
Roseberry told News Channel 11 that Dugger wanted to be cremated, so the funds will help with the process and obtaining an urn. He plans to travel to Florida and scatter some of his brother’s ashes in the forest, at some of Dugger’s favorite spots.
Larry Dugger was also a father, leaving behind a son, Roseberry said.
A memorial service with lanterns has been planned at Powell Square Park in the Tree Streets of Johnson City on Saturday, February 20 at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Dugger attended both Science Hill High School and Liberty Bell Middle School while he lived in Johnson City.
“He was a free spirit,” Roseberry said. “He lived off the grid. He was all about peace.”
News Channel 11 has reached out to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for more information on the shooting.
“I want his story to stay out there and not just be another unsolved murder,” Roseberry said.
Roseberry said another memorial for Dugger has been planned in Florida at the site of the Rainbow Gathering shooting.