Murder suspect caught on Florida beach after COVID restrictions lifted

Mario Matthew Gatti allegedly shot a man in Pennsylvania in January.

April 20, 2020, 9:48 AM

A fugitive wanted for murder tried to get some sun on one of Florida's recently reopened beaches this weekend. But he ended up behind bars instead.

Jacksonville Beach Police said they apprehended Mario Matthew Gatti, 30, who has been on the loose since January after he allegedly shot a man in western Pennsylvania after they found him loitering near a sand dune Sunday morning. Gatti was wearing a T-shirt, a sleeveless hoodie and a large pair of stars-and-stripes shorts when he was arrested, according to a photo released by police.

PHOTO: Jacksonville Beach Florida police officers arrest Mario Matthew Gatti on April 19, 2020 for an alleged murder in Pennsylvania
Jacksonville Beach Florida police officers arrest Mario Matthew Gatti on April 19, 2020 for an alleged murder in Pennsylvania
Jacksonville Beach Police

On Jan. 16, Gatti allegedly shot and killed Michael Coover, Jr., 33, at an apartment building in Arnold, Pa., just west of Pittsburgh.

PHOTO: Jacksonville Beach Florida police officers arrest Mario Matthew Gatti on April 19, 2020 for an alleged murder in Pennsylvania.
Jacksonville Beach Florida police officers arrest Mario Matthew Gatti on April 19, 2020 for an alleged murder in Pennsylvania.
Jacksonville Beach Police

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed local beaches to open last weekend. Crowds flocked to some beaches, including Jacksonville Beach, in droves despite some of the calls for precaution on mass gatherings.

Jacksonville Beach Police charged Gatti with several criminal counts, including giving false information to a law enforcement officer and drug possession, the police said. Attorney information wasn't immediately available.

This report was featured in the Monday, April 20, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

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