SANTA ROSA BEACH — Authorities say a Bay County man shot and killed another man at a South Walton home before fleeing to Panama City and engaging police in a shootout on Tuesday.
According to Walton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Corey Dobridnia, authorities were called to the scene of a suspicious death at 219 White Heron Drive, just off County Road 30A, at around 10 a.m. Tuesday. Once there, they found the body of 30-year-old Clinton Street, who lived in the home, and determined he died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Officials said the suspect in Street’s death was 49-year-old Kevin Robert Holroyd of Panama City. They would not elaborate on the relationship between Holroyd and Street, but one of Street’s neighbors said Holroyd was the ex-husband of Street’s fiancé.
The neighbor, who did not wish to give his name, said he was home just before 10 a.m. when he heard screams coming from a neighbor’s house. The man said he went outside and found a woman, Street’s fiancé, screaming and in distress.
Believing a burglary had just taken place, the man went inside the home with his K9-trained dog to make sure it was safe while the woman called 911.
He then saw a man’s body on the floor, with gunshot wounds in his side and a pillow over his head.
The neighbor said he believed the victim’s fiancé had left their home to take her 6-year-old daughter to school when the alleged homicide took place, and returned to find her fiancé dead.
Sheriff’s office officials could not confirm those details as of press time.
While authorities in Walton County were investigating the homicide, Holroyd had apparently fled to his apartment complex in Panama City and barricaded himself inside a second-story unit.
Authorities say Panama City police officers were assisting the Walton County Sheriff’s department in covertly watching Holroyd’s apartment and vehicle in Panama City when they received a call of a chemical or gas leak in the building. When officers arrived to respond to the reports of the leak, the suspect opened fire with a rifle from his second-story apartment at about 12:30 p.m.
Authorities say he pinned several officers in place with gunfire, leading to a massive law enforcement response that included Panama City Police, Panama City Beach Police, Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Lynn Haven Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and Walton County Sheriff’s Office.
Only one injury was reported as of 5 p.m., a woman who was injured while running from the apartment complex. The woman is reportedly in stable condition.
“I heard 20 or 30 shots, then there was a pause, and then 15 minutes later there was another 20 or 30 shots, and then it seemed like about 100 rounds going off,” witness Cody Clemmons told the Panama City News Herald. “That was high-powered rifle power. That was no small arms fire. One of them sounded like a full blown cannon going off.”
After several rounds of gunfire, the standoff came to an end around 4:30 p.m. Police breached the door of the apartment where Holroyd was holed up and found him dead inside of the gasoline-soaked dwelling, authorities confirmed.
Officials would not say if Holroyd died by police gunfire or by self-inflicted gunfire. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating Holroyd's death, according to Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford.
Schools near the apartment complex were placed on lockdown during the ordeal, and a nearby bank was evacuated.
Between bursts of gunfire, police worked to remove people from the apartment complex to take them to safety, according to the Panama City News Herald. Once the standoff ended, residents at the apartment complex were told to stay away from the scene as authorities determined how to proceed with the gasoline-soaked apartment.
In Walton county, Butler Elementary School students were kept from going outside as the homicide investigation was conducting, Dobridnia said.
Neighbors milled out and about in the usually quiet neighborhood just off 30A, not going past the crime scene tape that cordoned off an entire corner of the street. Investigators wearing latex gloves and shoe covers could be seen going in and out of the house. A body was taken out by Medical Examiner staff at about 1 p.m.
"This is a safe, quiet neighborhood, where everybody helps each other," one neighbor said.
Both incidents are still under investigation.