Saturday 17 March 2018

Suspect killed as 'Bonnie and Clyde' crime spree ends in shootout with police

An ambulance leaves the scene with a wounded Brittany Harper after a shootout in Florida (AP)
An ambulance leaves the scene with a wounded Brittany Harper after a shootout in Florida (AP)

The hunt for a couple suspected in a series of robberies and abductions across three states has ended with the man dead and the woman in custody after a shootout with police.

Escambia County Sheriff's Office in Florida said Blake Fitzgerald died and Brittany Nicole Harper was wounded after a police chase.

Authorities had linked the Missouri couple to a series of crimes in Alabama and Georgia, saying the offences fit a similar pattern as victims were robbed, kidnapped and let go unharmed, usually after a vehicle was stolen.

The US Marshals Service said the couple, dubbed a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, were also suspected over at least two robberies in Florida, in Walnut Hills and Destin.

Police said Harper is under armed guard in hospital and faces multiple charges including home invasion, robbery, false imprisonment and grand theft auto.

No police were injured.

The eventual capture of the couple started with a report of a robbery at a footwear store in Pensacola, Florida.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said a call alerted authorities and o fficers spotted the couple near Pensacola Beach. The couple reportedly held a family hostage in their home before fleeing in the family truck.

He said officers pursued the truck, and followed the couple into another neighbourhood where a 15-minute stand-off with authorities took place.

Mr Morgan added that officers exchanged fire with the couple as they tried to leave the truck and enter a home.

He said he knows of no ties the couple had to the Pensacola area, but he had heard they were heading to Panama City to get married.

Press Association

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