Missouri couple suspected in crime spree found; man dead

MILTON, Fla. -- The search for a Missouri couple suspected in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended in a shootout in the Florida Panhandle early Friday that left the man dead and the woman wounded, authorities said.

See Full Article

Blake Fitzgerald died and Brittany Nicole Harper was taken to a local hospital, according to a statement from the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

Few other details were immediately released, but local news outlets report that the shots were fired after a chase. In online video posted by Pensacola, Florida, station WEAR-TV, a volley of gunshots can be heard amid flashing police lights.

Dozens of police and sheriff's deputies blocked a rural road leading to the site where the couple was found Friday morning.

Santa Rosa County sheriff's Sgt. Rich Alloy said his agency learned around 12:30 a.m. that the suspects were heading into Santa Rosa County, so their officers joined the search, which ended on a road. Alloy said that because a shooting took place, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was taking over the investigation. Alloy provided no other details of the chase and shooting.

Alloy also said they are fortunate more people were not hurt. It would have been worse if it happened earlier in the day because there would have a lot of traffic, he said.

Authorities have linked Fitzgerald and Harper to a series of crimes in Alabama and Georgia, saying the offences fit a similar pattern: People are robbed, kidnapped and let go unharmed, usually after a vehicle is stolen.

Before that, police in Joplin, Missouri, had wanted to interview the two about a Jan. 22 break-in there in which guns were stolen from a home. The couple is also suspected in two Florida robberies in Walnut Hills and Destin on Wednesday, U.S. Marshals spokesman Martin Keely said.

Calling them a "modern-day Bonnie and Clyde," the U.S. Marshals announced Thursday that they were offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to their arrest.

Fitzgerald and Harper have been charged with robbing and abducting a hotel clerk in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and taking his car to the Birmingham area. The clerk was let go in the upscale suburb of Vestavia Hills, where a woman was briefly abducted by two people who stole her family's Ford Edge SUV.

On Monday night, a gunman held up a young clerk at a Murphy Express station along Interstate 75 in south Georgia, taking money from the safe and cigarettes before forcing the clerk into an SUV where his female accomplice waited, authorities said. The couple drove about 15 miles before releasing the clerk unharmed, Perry police Lt. Ken Ezell said.

The hotel clerk who was abducted in Alabama, Kyle Dease, told Al.com that he spoke with his captors during the nearly two hours he was held on the drive from Tuscaloosa to metro Birmingham. Dease said they told him they hoped to make it to Florida to get married and start a new life together.

The man also told Dease he did not plan on going back to prison.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Government 'will not pursue deportation' of former child refugee: Goodale

    Canada News CTV News
    A former child refugee who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer will no longer have to fight the federal government in court over his right to stay in Canada. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed in a tweet Tuesday that the government “will not pursue deportation” for Abdoul Abdi. Source
  • Nowhere to run: Rohingya hunker down as monsoon arrives

    World News CTV News
    UKHIYA, Bangladesh -- The hill on which the young woman's shelter is being built is so unstable that the earth crumbles under your feet. The threat of landslides is so dire that her neighbours have evacuated. Source
  • The case against Russians indicted for U.S. election cyberattacks

    World News CBC News
    Twelve Russian military intelligence officers are accused of hacking into the computers of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign and of attempting to penetrate voting systems across the U.S. 12 Russians indicted for cyberattacks during U.S. presidential election Source
  • Immigrant children describe hunger and cold in U.S. detention

    World News CTV News
    SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Wet and muddy from their trek across the Mexican border, immigrant children say they sat or lay on the cold, concrete floor of the immigration holding centres where they were taken. Source
  • Missing boy's remains found along North Saskatchewan riverbank

    Canada News CTV News
    MELFORT, Sask. - Police say they have found the remains of a little boy who disappeared in Prince Albert, Sask., in the spring. Sweetgrass Kennedy was last seen on May 10 and Prince Albert police had said evidence suggested the four-year-old fell into the North Saskatchewan River. Source
  • 800 low-cost airline passengers stranded in Montreal for 4 days

    Canada News CTV News
    Eight hundred airline passengers have been stranded in Montreal for the past four days after a low-cost airline cancelled a series of flights to Paris. Spanish airline Level cancelled the first flight on Saturday. Source
  • Trump's stunning Europe trip smashes presidential precedent

    World News CTV News
    HELSINKI -- Plenty of U.S. presidents have created commotion in their travels abroad, but none as much as U.S. President Donald Trump. The president's tumultuous trip across Europe, historians say, smashed the conventions of American leaders on the world stage. Source
  • B.C. anti-gang agency to monitor Hells Angels anniversary party

    Canada News CTV News
    NANAIMO, B.C. -- As many as 300 Hells Angels club members and other outlaw motorcycle gang members are expected to descend on Vancouver Island this weekend. The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. Source
  • Forgotten hero in marine disaster honoured by Red Cross in N.L.

    Canada News CTV News
    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Forty-six years ago, Leo Bullen gave up his life when he offered his life-jacket to a small child as a fire raged around them on the schooner Delroy, sinking the ship and claiming the lives of nine people. Source
  • U.S. grand jury indicts woman on charges of being Russian agent

    World News CBC News
    A U.S. grand jury on Tuesday indicted a Russian woman on charges of acting as an agent of the Russian government, the U.S. Justice Department said. Maria Butina, who studied at American University in Washington and is a founder of the pro-gun Russian advocacy group Right to Bear Arms, was arrested on Sunday and is scheduled to appear on Wednesday in federal court in Washington, the department said. Source