The Missouri couple dubbed a modern-day “Bonnie and Clyde” were tracked down to Florida Thursday before a car chase and shootout that left Blake Fitzgerald dead and Brittany Harper wounded, law enforcement officials said.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan detailed at a news conference today how the couple was first spotted by police Thursday night after authorities tied them to an armed robbery at a Famous Footwear store in Pensacola. They were allegedly able to get away from the scene.
Police spotted the couple three hours later in the same car they allegedly used at the Famous Footwear, but they evaded authorities by fleeing the car on foot, Morgan said.
Two hours later, Morgan said, police received a call from a couple saying they had been held hostage by Fitzgerald and Harper for "a couple of hours" before the pair allegedly fled with the residents' red truck.
Police spotted the truck and a shootout ensued, leaving Fitzgerald dead at the scene and Harper injured, police say.
Harper is at a Florida hospital and will face charges of home invasion and grand theft auto, among others, Morgan said.
The extent of her injuries was unclear, but State Attorney Bill Eddins said today he believed they involved her ankle and leg.
Before this morning's shootout, Fitzgerald and Harper, both in their 30s, had faced charges after allegedly carrying out a bevy of armed robberies across the southeast over the past week. They allegedly robbed the Microtel Inn in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Sunday, briefly taking the hotel clerk hostage, police said.
From there, police say, they allegedly attempted to carjack the manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in Hoover, Alabama.
Investigators say the couple fled to a nearby residence, allegedly taking the homeowner hostage, stealing her SUV and dropping her off at a hospital.
The SUV was discovered in Perry, Georgia, Monday night, police said.
Also, security footage appears to show the armed couple holding up a Murphy Express station in Perry and forcing the cashier into the same SUV, before dropping her off at a nearby exit.
The couple had taken to Facebook to seemingly mock police in recent days, despite pleas from their friends to turn themselves in. Harper apparently posted on Facebook, "I wasn’t planning on going for a run today but those cops came out of nowhere."
One of Harper's friends apparently wrote on Facebook, "I don’t want u to die … But I am afraid u are headed in that direction."