SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The suspect involved in the vehicle pursuit and shooting in a Navarre Publix parking lot turned himself into the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office Thursday night.
Grayson Zachary Eagan, 29, was charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, trafficking amphetamine over 200 grams, firing a weapon from a vehicle, damaging property, firing a missile into a dwelling and eluding police.
On Dec. 22, deputies responded to the area of Hwy. 98 and Cotton Bay Lane in Navarre for what they called a road rage incident. The victim said in the arrest report he was in Ft. Walton and returning to Santa Rosa County after dropping off his children. While traveling Westbound on Hwy. 98, the victim said he noticed a black in color BMW beside him. The victim said the BMW would speed up and slow down, as if he wanted to race. The victim said they ended up at the same light down the road and the BMW did the same thing and ultimately got behind the victim’s vehicle. According to the arrest report, they stopped at the light at Hwy. 98 and while the light was red, the victim got out of his car and began yelling at the occupants, a female passenger and the driver, who was later identified as Eagan.
The victim said after he finished yelling, he got back in his car and drove off and the BMW followed. Due to the BMW following him, the victim said he turned into the Walgreens parking lot and parked. The victim said the BMW drove through the Publix parking lot and parked a short distance from him. The victim said he called deputies to report the BMW and stayed on the line. He said he went to leave the Publix parking lot, which is when Eagan allegedly started shooting at the victim’s car.
According to Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson, Eagan was out on bond from the Santa Rosa County Jail from a prior arrest. In August, Eagan was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, trafficking in meth over 200 grams, grand theft less than $20,000, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of a synthetic cannabinoid and possession of marijuana over 20 grams.
Johnson said once they got behind Eagan a “huge pursuit” ensued. He said the chase spanned at least 60 miles, with speeds reaching up to 180 miles per hour.
“He went up 87, all the way up towards Yellow Bridge, saw deputies with spike strips, turned around, went all the way east on Hwy. 98, towards Okaloosa County, turned around, came back, then finally ditched the car north of the Walmart in Navarre,” Johnson said. “This guy got up to 180 miles per hour. Our officers got up to 130 miles per hour and he left them. He left them in the dust, and he did this in broad daylight in Navarre.”
Several times during the chase, Johnson said his deputies tried to deploy spike strips, but were unsuccessful.
“He was moving at such a high speed, they tried to get to a place where they could put them down and he was past you,” Johnson said. “Another time, we were going to do them at the bridge, but he saw deputies at the bridge, did a u-turn and came back the other way. One time at 339, deputies had a good shot, and he went into the ditch, at a good rate of speed, and came back the other way past the stop sticks.”
After the chase, according to the arrest report, deputies spoke with the female passenger. Deputies said she was hesitant to talk at first due to being high and afraid Eagan would come back and kill her. She said earlier in the morning, Eagan called her to pick her up in Pensacola. She said they traveled to Ft. Walton and had coffee with Eagan’s “dad.” She said they left the apartment they had coffee at and the next thing she knows, there was a guy yelling at them at an intersection. In the arrest report, she described the silver vehicle almost “t-boning” them and Eagan went to get out of the vehicle. Instead of getting out of the vehicle, she said Eagan pulled out a firearm and began shooting out of his window. She said she thought Eagan was shooting in the air. She said she then noticed law enforcement behind them and Eagan refusing to stop. She said during the time Eagan was making u-turns, he tossed three to four bags and a firearm out of the window. She said Eagan finally stopped the vehicle near a water tower on a gravel pathway, which was located by a residence. She said Eagan told her to “act normal,” and turn on her “hot spot” so he could start making calls.
While walking down the street, the female passenger said Eagan told her, “This is what it takes to hang out with me.” She said she got into a red Kia with two males and a female, and they traveled Westbound on Hwy. 98 towards Gulf Breeze.
Inside of the backpack Eagan allegedly threw out of the window during the u-turn was a Glock .45 caliber with a Glock switcher chip, which Johnson said makes the firearm fully automatic.
“It is easy to install, and once you do, you can empty a magazine, just like that,” Johnson said. “Now, not only is he a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, it is a fully automatic firearm, because he made it that way.”
Also in the backpacks was a bag containing marijuana and a crystal-like substance. Deputies said the crystal-like substance field tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed over 200 grams.
For those civilians driving on the road during a high-speed chase, Johnson advises for them to get out of the way.
“I saw it on the dashcam video, get out of the way,” Johnson said. “A lot of people don’t. They don’t look in their rearview mirrors enough. Our deputies were behind him on Hwy. 98, and it looked like our deputies could get him, but they couldn’t even get to the car because people are driving. Pay attention to your rearview mirror. It’s not just the citizens, our officers are at risk. If you’re going 130 miles per hour and you have a blow out and a car pulls out in front of you, you’re dead.”
A criminal history was conducted on Eagan, which showed two felony convictions in 2012 for cocaine and marijuana possession.
“If he ever gets out of prison, he needs to get a new line of work, because he is clearly terrible at being a criminal,” Johnson said.
Eagan was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail without bond.