MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — One person is dead and two others were shot after an active shooter scene on Sept. 21 in the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort near Baytowne Wharf.
Investigators identified the shooter as 21-year-old Gunner Cole from Warner Robins, Georgia. The sheriff’s office said Cole was standing near the roundabout on Baytowne Ave. shooting at vehicles driving by.
“I believe he was here on vacation. No ties to the area that we’re aware of. Came here for a party and ultimately made a decision that’s going to impact families for the rest of their lives and the rest of the family’s lives,” said Captain Dustin Cosson, Walton County Investigator.
Walton County Sheriff’s Office said the shooting created three separate investigations including a vehicle fire that are confirmed to be related.
“No gate, no community is without being touched with all that these things happen,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson at a Sept. 22 press conference.
Sheriff Adkinson said a deputy heard gunshots in the area on Thursday night.
“There was essentially a call across the street to us Highway 98, deputies were on scene for another incident where they were actually on a call. One of the deputies there had their window down and they heard multiple shots. They started going that way trying to really triangulate and determine where that was coming from,” said Adkinson. “As they arrived on the scene, the initial deputy on scene saw a subject who will be identified in a moment standing in the roadway.”
After shooting at multiple cars, Adkinson said Cole shot at the deputies and one returned fire.
“This is probably 60 to 75 yards that is an extremely long shot to have to make under duress in the dark not a lot of people do that. That was a very good shot. He doesn’t make that shot right there then we’ve got a whole different situation going on,” said Adkinson. “There are a lot of rounds fired in this incident, but that neutralizing of that threat unquestionably saved lives”
The Sheriff’s Office confirmed at least three people were shot and more than seven vehicles were damaged by bullets on the Sandestin property. The investigations revealed that 14 to 18 rounds were fired in the area before deputies neutralized the threat.
The Sheriff’s office said one gunshot victim drove to Baytowne Wharf and got help from those around. A second drove to the nearby Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital on the other side of Grand Boulevard for treatment.
While responding to the shooting, the South Walton Fire District saw a vehicle fire next to the Sacred Heart Hospital. Firefighters put out the flames and realized someone died inside the car.
The Sheriff’s Office believes this person was also driving to the hospital for treatment after being shot by Cole. Investigators did not identify the victims.
Other drivers that were shot at pulled into the Marriot hotel parking lot.
Cole is recovering in the hospital and currently faces three felony charges. The State Attorney’s office said they will seek additional charges.