DELTONA, Fla. – A 60-year-old man wanted for threatening to blow up the DeLand courthouse earlier this month shot and killed his nephew before killing himself early Friday during a standoff in Deltona, sheriff's officials said.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said deputies went to the Belltower Apartments around 6:30 p.m. Thursday to serve an arrest warrant to Noel Flores for the Nov. 6 courthouse threat.
Deputies said they heard two gunshots as they approached the home, so they retreated. The shooter then called 911 and said he had shot and killed his nephew.
Sheriff's officials on Friday identified the gunman as Flores and his nephew as Arthur Johnson, 44.
Flores told a 911 operator that he was planning to kill himself because he felt guilty for killing Johnson and he didn't want to go to jail.
Volusia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Andrew Gant said a 911 dispatcher prayed with Flores and tried to keep him calm. Flores told the dispatcher he had no intention of harming deputies, according to Gant.
"I just want to talk to somebody before I take my life. That's what I want to do," Flores said in a 911 call.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Flores asked to speak with him during the negotiations because he once saw Chitwood speak at a church event. During that conversation, Chitwood said Flores first claimed that Johnson had had a knife. Later, Florida said it was a gun, not a knife.
Evidence from inside the apartment indicated that Flores likely placed a knife in Johnson's after he shot Johnson, according to Chitwood.
“Why he killed his nephew? We have no idea, this is clearly a murder-suicide,” Chitwood said.
Claims that Johnson had drugs in the house also ended up being false, according to authorities.
After more than six hours of negotiations, about 15 rounds of tear gas were tossed into the apartment. The SWAT team found Flores in a closet, and when the closet door was opened, he shot himself in the chest, officials said.
Flores was taken to a hospital in critical condition and later died, officials said. Johnson was found dead in the home.
Deputies said they are trying to determine why Flores shot his nephew, with whom he lived.
Chitwood said Flores had been interviewed by detectives Thursday at his workplace.
Nearby apartment units were evacuated during the standoff, but residents were later allowed to re-enter their homes.
Barricaded subject in Deltona 11/29-11/30/18
Body camera footage: ARMED, BARRICADED SUBJECT SHOOTS SELF AFTER SHOOTING MAN IN DELTONA APARTMENT *Deputies were in area to arrest suspect in recent courthouse threats* A 6-hour negotiation with an armed and barricaded man in a Deltona apartment building Thursday night ended in his apparent suicide by self-inflicted gunshot Friday morning. Another man was found dead inside the apartment, confirming the barricaded subject’s earlier statements that he’d shot and killed someone. The incident at Belltower Apartments (530 Belltower Ave., Deltona) began just after 7 p.m. Thursday, when deputies were in the area looking to locate and arrest a suspect in connection to recent threats phoned in to the Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand. (Previous news release in that case posted on Nov. 9.) While those deputies were on scene, they heard gunshots from the suspect’s apartment. Deputies began evacuating the surrounding apartments as backup units responded to the complex. Moments later, the suspect called 911 and spoke for several minutes with a Sheriff’s Office telecommunicator, telling her he had just shot a man and was planning on taking his own life rather than going to jail. The telecommunicator prayed with the suspect and attempted to calm him during an approximately 6 ½-minute initial phone call followed by a 13-minute callback: “…If you don’t listen to anything else that I say, can you just please put that gun down?” she asked him multiple times. The suspect repeated that he couldn’t bear going back to jail. “I love you so much because you’re helping me out, but I’m just telling you the truth: I cannot do it; I cannot do it. I can’t,” he told her. He said he had no intention of hurting any law enforcement officers. Negotiators on scene were able to establish phone contact with the suspect and communicate with him directly for several hours, but he was not willing to come outside. The suspect also spoke on the phone with Sheriff Mike Chitwood but still refused to leave the apartment. The suspect told deputies the man he shot was an adult male friend/relative, and that he shot the man after the man pointed the gun at him and also threatened him with a knife while deputies were outside the apartment building. Shortly after 1 a.m., members of the VCSO SWAT team along with a bomb robot entered the apartment and found one man dead inside a front bedroom. The suspect was located in the master bedroom closet with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, which he’s believed to have sustained as SWAT was clearing the apartment. A deputy performed life-saving measures on the suspect at the scene until a Deltona Fire Rescue paramedic relieved him, and then he was transported to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. There were no injuries to any deputies or other first responders. Release/official confirmation of the identities of both of the deceased is pending positive identification and/or notification of next of kin. ***Update*** The IDs of the deceased are: 60-year-old Noel Flores (DOB 6/13/1958) – barricaded subject 44-year-old Arthur Johnson (DOB 12/1/1973)Posted by Volusia Sheriff's Office on Friday, November 30, 2018
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