Investigation underway after Chipley man fatally shot at hotel

Deputies found 48-year-old Chipley man Lamar Hall laying on the ground with a gunshot wound to his leg.
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 11:09 AM CDT
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BONIFAY, Fla. (WTVY) - We’ve learned new details about an investigation in Bonifay that resulted in the fatal shooting death of a man.

According to information detailed by Holmes County Sheriff John Tate during a press conference on Monday, deputies responded to the Holiday Inn Express hotel at 115 Washington Dr in Bonifay at around 3:00 a.m after a 911 call for a man who was shot.

The deputies on scene were directed to room 102 by front desk staff at the hotel, and upon entering the room they discovered a man laying on the floor with a gunshot wound to his leg. EMS responded on the scene to tend to the victim, identified as Steven Lamar Hall of Chipley (born 1978), and transported him to Doctors Memorial Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Deputies talked with a female subject that was also in the room, who Tate said was the one who made the 911 call. The woman, identified as Lois Kay Merkle of Panama City (born 1964), told deputies that she was removing a handgun from a safe in the room, and managed to discharge the gun which resulted in Hall being shot.

Merkle was taken in for further questioning, and additional information was gathered from others at the hotel, including room neighbors and the front desk staff, while also obtaining a search warrant for the room, with forensic work being done by the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Tate said that based on the interviews with others that were at the hotel at the time of the incident, and combining that with information from Merkle, that he believes there is conflicting information that isn’t adding up at this time.

Tate says they are working to obtain search warrants for Hall and Merkle’s cell phones to obtain digital evidence, with the hope of building a timeline of what likely occurred. He went on to say that illegal narcotics were discovered in the room, and Merkle at this time remains in custody for further questioning and likely will face charges for the narcotics, with more charges potentially to come based on findings after the investigation is complete for the shooting incident.


BONIFAY, Fla. (WTVY) - Holmes County Sheriff’s office is currently investigating a fatal shooting that occurred in Bonifay at the Holiday Inn.

According to HCSO, all parties have been identified and accounted for.

The shooting is under investigation.

News4 will have updates as soon as they become available.

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