Suspect accused of murdering man in Crestview killed in deputy shootout

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ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Deputies in Escambia County Florida confirm a man wanted for killing an 80-year-old man in Crestview is dead following an early morning shootout.

Deputies say they found Johnny Kirk in a white Ford Escape at 2:45 a.m. Monday. They say the suspect jumped out of the car and began shooting at deputies. The deputies shot back, hitting Kirk.

The suspect was taken to the hospital, where he died.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office gave more details of Kirk’s three-county crime spree.

UPDATE (07/12/21 6:24 PM) — Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Michael Lawson, a passenger in the car with Kirk, has been located and taken into custody. Lawson was found off of Gulf Beach Highway.

On Saturday, July 10, Kirk kidnapped two 16-year-old girls in Walton County and forced them at gunpoint to drive him to a Crestview motel. Once in Crestview, he killed an 80-year-old man at 1:30 p.m. at Shoal River Wayside Park in Crestview and stole his truck. The truck was later found in Defuniak Springs.

Deputies received a tip at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday that Kirk was on Pensacola Beach, and they found him near Inez and Carrick streets. Deputies say they were immediately met with gunfire as soon as they get out of the car. Deputies say Johnny Ray Kirk fired at least 10 rounds. He was shot twice by deputies and died later at a local hospital. 

“He came to Escambia County — I guess seeking refuge. He didn’t get it in Escambia County, but I can tell you this guy had to be stopped. He was stopped. God knows what he would’ve done next because again obviously dangerous, obviously willing to not only shoot at law enforcement but also at innocent men,” Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office released a 25-second clip of body camera footage from when deputies approached Kirk early Monday morning. *Viewer discretion advised*

Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden took part this afternoon in a news conference held at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. He says he is grateful for the tireless work of multiple local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies who coordinated so well to try to get a dangerous killer off the streets.

“I’m also exceptionally grateful to the local community for its concern and involvement in helping to share information and publicize Kirk’s photograph while the search was underway. Five posts on the OCSO Facebook page in reference to the case had nearly 6000 shares in less than 48 hours, an incredible show of community support. We received many tips as a result,” Aden said.

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