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.
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