UPDATE: Suspect, victims identified in Holmes County rest area shooting


Sheriff Tate holds news conference to discuss rest area shooting

UPDATE Sunday 10:00 p.m. (WDHN) — Holmes County Sheriff John Tate and Jackson County Sheriff Donnie Edenfield provided new information at a news conference Sunday evening following the fatal shooting at a rest area in Ponce de Leon.

According to Sheriff Tate, authorities arrived at the rest area after receiving 9-1-1 calls about a shooting.  One of the victims, Dereck Todd Thompson, Jr., 35, of Pensacola died on the scene. The woman who was shot, Mariah Maps, 29, of Pensacola was critically injured. Maps was able to provide officers with information about the suspect. 

Sheriff Tate identified the suspect as Latorish Antonio Gardner, 48, of Marianna. 

Latorish Antonio Gardner of Marianna, Fla., faces murder and attempted murder charges.

Investigators discovered Maps and Gardner have children together, and had met at the rest area to do a child-exchange.

“At some point during the child-exchange, Ms. Maps and Mr. Gardner got into a physical altercation. During the altercation, the other male subject, Mr. Thompson, got out of the vehicle and broke the fight up and made Ms. Maps get back into the vehicle,” Sheriff Tate said in a news conference Sunday evening.

According to Sheriff Tate, Gardner then pulled out a gun and fatally shot Thompson. Maps attempted to run across the parking lot to get away, but Tate said Gardner also shot her. Maps is in critical condition at a hospital in Ft. Walton.

After the shooting, Gardner fled the scene with several children, and drove to a residence in Jackson County.

A relative called sheriff’s dispatch a short time later, saying Gardner wanted to turn himself in. When officers arrived at the residence, Gardner surrendered without incident.

All children were located safe at the home.

Gardner is in the Jackson County Jail. He faces murder and attempted murder charges.

Investigators are collecting information from numerous witnesses who were at the rest area when the violence broke out.

Original Story

HOLMES COUNTY, Fla. (WDHN) – Authorities said a suspect was taken into custody Sunday afternoon following a shooting at a Holmes County rest area.

Law enforcement officers from the Florida Highway Patrol, Holmes County, and Jackson County responded to separate scenes Sunday afternoon.  

First, at least two people were shot at the rest area in Ponce De Leon along I-10. One person died at the scene, and the other victim was taken to a local hospital according to information given to our media partners with The Holmes County Times-Advertiser.

Later, a suspect was taken into custody in Jackson County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Sheriff John Tate asked people to stay away from the rest area while the investigation continued. Holmes County is the lead investigating agency.

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