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Police checking path of gunmen arrested in Florida standoff

December 9, 2020 GMT

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Investigators say they are tracking the path taken by two Colorado men arrested after a police chase and standoff in Florida’s Panhandle to see if they were involved in the fatal shooting of a nurse along an interstate in Nashville, Tennessee.

Duane Lee Storey, 38, of Grand Junction, Colorado, and Cody Sean Brelsford, 41, of Placerville, Colorado, were arrested Saturday at Port Panama City. They each face multiple charges and are being held in the Bay County Jail.

The incident began early Saturday north of Panama City, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

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The sheriff’s office received a 911 call at 12:36 a.m. from a man who said he had been shot. A short time later, another 911 caller said he had been shot at multiple times by someone in a Jeep parked in the middle of an intersection in Ebro, according to a news release.

The news release said Storey, who was driving the Jeep, fired rounds at a box truck that was approaching the intersection. The driver of the second vehicle approaching the intersection later told investigators Storey also fired multiple times at him, it said.

Both victims told sheriff’s investigators they backed away from the line of fire.

“This is a random act of violence,” Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews said in the news release. “The suspects did not know either victim of the shooting.”

Investigators said Storey headed south after the shooting. The sheriff’s office notified authorities in nearby Bay County, providing the vehicle description. Deputies later located the Jeep in Panama City Beach, and the driver fled.

Bay County Sheriff’s officials said in a Facebook post that at one point the suspects pointed a handgun with a laser at a deputy. A pursuit continued with deputies and Panama City police officers trailing the men.

The vehicle drove through a barricade at Port Panama City, before reaching a dead end, where an armed standoff ensued. Storey and Brelsford were heavily armed and wearing body armor, according to Bay County Sheriff’s officials.

Deputies negotiated with the men, who eventually surrendered.

“This was an extremely dangerous situation with heavily armed subjects,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said in the statement.

“I am very pleased these suspects are behind bars for we may never know what their next move may have been,” Crews, the Washington County Sheriff, said in a news release.

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The release said Storey told investigators “it was time to go to war.”

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado released a report Tuesday indicating that Storey’s mother had asked authorities to check on her son Dec. 3 because he had made odd statements about being part of the CIA. She said her son was a combat veteran and appeared to be suffering from symptoms of PTSD when he took multiple guns that were his from her home a couple of days earlier, according to the office.

It said he also had made multiple “suicide by cop” statements in the past, according to his mother. His vehicle was seen headed east on Interstate 70 in western Colorado on Dec. 1.

According to the case report, Storey’s wife told investigators she got a restraining order against her husband a couple of weeks ago, and she was concerned he was going to harm somebody or himself. She did not have any information about specific targets, the report said.

Deputies recovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition, several guns and ballistic vests inside the vehicle.

Nashville detective Chris Dickerson said investigators in Florida were in touch with police in Tennessee because of similarities involving the fatal shooting of Caitlyn Kaufman, who was heading to work Dec. 3. Her body was found that evening in a SUV stopped along Interstate 440.

“We do not know the travel, the path that they took, if they came through Nashville right now, but we are working with them actively,” he said. “Whatever evidence they recover, we’ll compare notes.”

For now, Storey is charged with fleeing and eluding police, failure to obey a law enforcement officer to stop, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and trespassing while armed. Brelsford is charged with possession of narcotics equipment and trespassing on property while armed.

Lawyers for the pair were not listed on jail records.

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This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Placerville.