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Apr 24th, 2009 | 0

Staff reports

Thomas Ford McCoy, wanted in connection with the shooting death of a Baker resident, Curtis Brown, on April 10 in DeFuniak Springs was apprehended April 21 by the U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force. McCoy was shot by a deputy marshal in Tampa, after pulling a gun on task force officers.
The marshals were conducting surveillance at a hotel in Tampa after marshals in Pensacola contacted them the morning of April 21. The marshal’s office in Pensacola received the information from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) after it was developed as part of the ongoing fugitive investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies. According to the marshals in Tampa, McCoy, 42, exited the hotel and was spotted by them. The marshals confronted McCoy and ordered him to the ground. When McCoy started to comply he drew a handgun on officers and was shot by a deputy marshal. Information has been provided to the marshals in Pensacola that McCoy was shot in the shoulder and buttocks. He was transported to a Tampa hospital where he is being treated for “non-life threatening wounds.”
It is not known if the gun he used was the weapon being sought in the investigation and the severity of his injuries. According to the marshals at the scene, the truck that McCoy had escaped in was found there but it appeared that he had been spray painting it, using a flat black paint, to change its appearance. No one else was reportedly injured, nor was anyone with McCoy at the time he was apprehended.
Several days after the shooting in DeFuniak Springs (April 10), the U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force had received a request from WCSO to aid in McCoy’s capture. They have been working with them and investigators as well as investigators from many of the surrounding jurisdictions including from the FDLE.
A press conference was held at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday April 21. Attending were DeFuniak Springs City Marshal Mark Weeks, Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson, Valparaiso Chief of Police Joseph Hart, U.S. Marshal’s public affairs officer Dominic Guadagnoli, and State Attorney William Eddins.
None of the officials at the conference would comment on specifics of the manhunt, though Adkinson and Weeks stated that there had been “hundreds” of leads furnished by the public. Adkinson also noted that security at Brown’s funeral had been high, in case any other member of Brown’s family was in danger.
Asked whether McCoy has been implicated in any other offenses committed in the interim between April 10 and April 21, none of the officials would comment. Eddins said that his office would be reviewing the case pending seeking an indictment, and though he could not confirm whether the state will seek the death penalty, he said the factor of “cold, calculated premeditation” would be considered in making that decision. That is a statutory factor that can be used in seeking the death penalty in a murder.
McCoy, a Laurel Hill resident and former employee of Coca- Cola Bottling Co. of Valparaiso, allegedly made a request-for-service call in order to lure Coca-Cola employee Curtis Brown to the scene of the shooting, at the Northwest Florida State College campus in DeFuniak Springs.
Adkinson said that WCSO investigators on en route to Tampa to assist in interviews and processing of the scenes there.
All at the press conference expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation among various state agencies in capturing McCoy. Weeks said that community involvement had been “massive.”

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