Friday, April 20, 2018
Public safety

Man who killed Leon County deputy had threatened law enforcement (w/video)

TALLAHASSEE — A man who set his house on fire and ambushed responding police officers held "anti-government, anti-establishment" views and had previously threatened law enforcement, authorities said Sunday.

The gunman was identified as 53-year-old Curtis Wade Holley. Authorities said he fatally shot Leon County sheriff's Deputy Christopher Smith, 47, on Saturday and wounded another deputy before he was killed in a gun battle outside his home.

At a news conference Sunday, sheriff's Lt. James McQuaig wouldn't detail the nature of the previous threats or Holley's anti-government beliefs. Holley had lived at the end of a cul-de-sac in a middle class neighborhood for about a year, McQuaig said.

Smith was the first Leon County Sheriff's Office employee to be killed in the line of duty in nearly 40 years, according to the department. The deputy who was wounded was shot while telling firefighters to stay away. Because he was wearing a bulletproof vest, his injuries were not life-threatening. No one was hurt in the fire.

Two Tallahassee police officers also responded to the shooting, including one who lived nearby and fatally shot Holley.

"Our responders yesterday were targeted for no other reason than they chose to spend their lives helping people," said Tallahassee police Chief Michael DeLeo. "There is no doubt that the actions of our deputies and officers prevented additional loss of life."

McQuaig said that it appeared the fire had been burning for a while before authorities arrived because they didn't receive the 911 call until flames were visible from the outside. The house was completely destroyed.

Holley's name and address had been entered into a law enforcement computer system because of his previous threats. The 911 dispatcher who took the fire call, though, put in the address of a neighbor who reported the blaze, so the alert wasn't activated and the Leon County deputy who responded first had no warning, according to an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

McQuaig would only say Sunday that there would be an investigation into how deputies were dispatched.

"There will be days and weeks of us combing over every minute detail of this investigation and we are not going to take action until we have all the facts," McQuaig said.

Records showed Holley was convicted in Leander, Texas, in 2004 for driving with a suspended license, but they did not show him being charged with a felony or any violent crimes.

The shooting near Florida's capital came just two days after a police shootout at Florida State University left a gunman dead after he wounded two students and an employee.

Comments
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Deputies: 19-month-old child found in New Port Richey pond has died

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 19-month-old child that was found in a pond on Thursday afternoon has died, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 12:31 p.m. Deputies and firefighters were called out to a home in the 47...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

LARGO — Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip., was shot an...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

Suspect in Gilchrist deputies’ slayings has Tampa Bay ties

The man identified as the suspect who fatally shot two Gilchrist County deputies in a restaurant Thursday afternoon before taking his own life has ties to the Tampa Bay area.Deputies say John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell — who was found dead outside ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Authorities say motive in deputy killings may never be known

Authorities say motive in deputy killings may never be known

TRENTON — Investigators in Florida say they may never know why a man - a recluse from a rural farm community who rarely ventured into town - killed two sheriff’s deputies while they sat in a Chinese restaurant. John Hubert Highnote, 58, of Bell casua...
Updated: 10 hours ago
One injured, suspect in custody in Ocala school shooting

One injured, suspect in custody in Ocala school shooting

OCALA — One student shot another in the ankle at a Florida high school and the suspected shooter is in custody, authorities said Friday.The Marion County Sheriff’s Office reported that the shooting happened Friday morning at Forest High School, which...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Mario Nunez called it a "huge shaking my head moment" when the photo inside the cabin of Southwest Airlines flight 1380 appeared on his TV.The story was about a terrifying emergency landing after an engine exploded 20 minutes into a trip from New Yor...
Updated: 12 hours ago
A state trooper kept pulling women over to ask for dates

A state trooper kept pulling women over to ask for dates

TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey State Police trooper accused of repeatedly pulling over women to ask them out on dates has been indicted. The state attorney general’s office announced Thursday that 32-year-old Eric Richardson faces charges including off...
Published: 04/20/18
Pinellas detention deputy fired for using racial slur

Pinellas detention deputy fired for using racial slur

LARGO — Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired a detention deputy Friday after an internal investigation found he used a racial slur to describe black inmates.A fellow Pinellas County Jail deputy reported Jorge Lopez, 30, after he repeatedly used the s...
Published: 04/20/18