One dead, suspect captured in Panhandle rest area shooting

Holmes County Sheriff John Tate (L) and Jackson County Sheriff Donnie Edenfield speak to...
Holmes County Sheriff John Tate (L) and Jackson County Sheriff Donnie Edenfield speak to reporters about a rest area murder on May 2, 2021. (WTVY)
Published: May. 2, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT
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Holmes, Fla. (WTVY) - A domestic dispute at a Florida panhandle rest area Sunday has left one man dead, another wounded, and a suspect in custody.

Holmes County Sheriff John Tate identified the victims as 35-year-old Dereck Todd Thompson, Jr., and Mariah Maps, 29, both of Pensacola. Thompson died and Maps suffered critical injuries, but she is expected to survive.

The suspect, 48-year-old Latorish Gardner of Marianna, had gone to rest area to meet Maps with whom he has children. Tate said they often swapped those children there for the purposes of visitation.

On Sunday, the two got into an altercation in front of their children that Thompson, who accompanied Maps on the trip, attempted to break up. Gardner shot him, per Tate.

He then chased Maps through the parking lot and shot her when she attempted to get into a vehicle that had stopped at the rest area for a bathroom break. The shot blew out the window of their vehicle, but the occupants were not injured, Tate said.

About an hour later, deputies in Jackson County, about 40 moles east of the shooting scene, took Gardner into custody at a home. He surrendered without incident and the children with him were not hurt,” Jackson County Sheriff Donnie Edenfield said at a joint news conference with Tate Sunday night.

Gardner is charged with one count each of Murder and Attempted Murder but Tate said other charges will be filed.

(This story updated to reflect correct age for Ms. Maps.)

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