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.


Latest Canada & World News

  • 'A revolving door': Neighbours angry about Burnaby B.C. home operating as 9-bedroom hotel

    Canada News CTV News
    A multi-million dollar Burnaby, B.C. home that was advertising nine rooms on short-term rental sites like Airbnb and Booking.com has neighbours calling on municipal authorities to shut down the de-facto hotel. The house was bought for $2.65 million last September. Source
  • Anti-pipeline protests continue in Burnaby, B.C.

    Canada News CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. -- Anti-pipeline protesters are continuing to demonstrate near Kinder Morgan's terminal in Burnaby, B.C., today. Dozens of people followed Indigenous leaders in a march toward a gate to the Burnaby Terminal, with organizers saying more than 70 of them were prepared to be arrested. Source
  • Gun control rallies being held in over a dozen Canadian cities in support of March for Our Lives

    Canada News CBC News
    More than a dozen Canadian cities are hosting marches to call for stricter gun control laws in both Canada and the United States in the wake of a deadly high school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Fla. Source
  • Man dog-sledding from Churchill to New Brunswick reaches halfway point

    Canada News CBC News
    A musher and his 12 Alaskan huskies have reached the halfway point of their 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek from Manitoba to his home province of New Brunswick. Justin Allen left Churchill, Man., on January 22 and arrived in Moosonee, Ont. Source
  • Driver fired after Ottawa school vehicle struck by gate arm at train crossing

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ottawa father is demanding answers after a vehicle transporting his eight-year-old son to school was struck by a railway crossing’s gate arms while a VIA Rail Canada train roared past. Jim Stackhouse said three-and-a-half hours passed before he was informed of the incident on Thursday. Source
  • Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - More than a dozen Canadian cities are hosting marches to call for stricter gun control laws in both Canada and the United States in the wake of a deadly high school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Fla. Source
  • Gun control rally begins where the movement was sparked

    World News CTV News
    PARKLAND, Fla. -- Thousands of people filled a park near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at a "March for Our Lives" rally near the site of last month's school massacre in Parkland, Florida. Saturday's rally in South Florida had the feel of a campaign event. Source
  • Kaetlyn Osmond's Marystown homecoming in April now a world champion's welcome

    Canada News CBC News
    Kaetlyn Osmond stunned the skating world Friday evening in Milan when she unexpectedly became the first Canadian woman in 45 years to win the world figure skating championships — just weeks before the small Newfoundland town where she grew up hosts her for a skating event. Source
  • 'Share your spare': N.B. man advertising on car to find kidney donors

    Canada News CTV News
    A New Brunswick man is hitting the road in the hopes of finding a kidney donor. Dan McLaughlin and his wife Patricia stuck decals to the back windows of their cars on Thursday, asking people to “share your spare. Source
  • Hundreds gather in Toronto in support of U.S. gun control rally

    Canada News CBC News
    About 200 people have gathered in Toronto on Saturday for the March of Our Lives rally to show solidarity with the U.S. gun control movement. The Toronto rally got underway at 10 a.m. at Nathan Phillips Square, where demonstrators began a march to Queen's Park. Source