Man who ran during police shootout with murder suspect in Florida arrested

Source: MEGA; Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

Jul. 21 2021, Published 4:26 p.m. ET

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A man is in custody and charged with a slew of crimes after police discovered an 80-year-old man dead in a Florida park.

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The suspect who killed the elderly victim died in a shootout with police. Officers now say they nabbed a man who was with the suspect but fled when the shooting started.

Around 1:30 p.m. July 10, the elderly victim was shot to death in Shoal River Park in Crestview, Florida. According to Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden, after the shooting, the suspect, Johnny Ray Kirk, 22, took the keys to the man’s 2007 Nissan pickup truck and fled.


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“It was an innocent man who was just at a park where he liked to go and eat lunch,” Sheriff Aden said. “It's a terrible tragic event that his family has to endure.”

The truck was later located abandoned in Walton County.

Around 2:45 a.m. July 12, Kirk was a passenger in a White Ford Escape. When Escambia County deputies stopped the vehicle, “the suspect jumped out of the passenger seat and immediately fired multiple rounds at the two deputies,” the sheriff’s office said. “The deputies returned fire striking the suspect twice.”

Kirk died from his injuries.

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Simmons said there were two other people in the vehicle, a female driver and another male, later identified as 24-year-old Michael Lawson.

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Lawson, who allegedly threw a shotgun from the window of the SUV, took off on foot during the stop and he was arrested later that day.

He faces an accessory to murder charge for helping to give Kirk a ride out of Walton County after Kirk killed the elderly man in the park.

Lawson is also charged with displaying a weapon during the commission of a felony, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and possession of a short-barreled shotgun, WEAR-TV reported.

His bond was set at $50,000 for the accessory to murder charge and no bond for the weapons charges.


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