Suspect in Titusville homicide arrested after crash in Ormond Beach, police say

Victim killed at Kirby Drive home; suspect caught after fleeing authorities

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - A Brevard County man accused of felony murder was arrested Thursday after fleeing Ormond Beach police and crashing into a utility pole, according to authorities in Brevard and Volusia counties.

Deputies were called to a home on Kirby Drive, just north of Titusville, around 9 a.m. after the victim, 63-year-old Christopher Johnston, was found dead in a home.

A neighbor told News 6 they heard gunshots, but deputies have not said how the man died. Brevard County Sheriff's Office officials said the 40-year-old suspect, Daniel Blair, entered Johnston's home and killed him during a robbery. Blair left the home in the victim's red pickup truck

Deputies said Blair confided in someone that he had killed Johnston and was leaving Brevard County.

The U.S. Marshall's Services FugitiveTask Force put out an alert for the stolen truck after receiving an arrest warrant from a Brevard County judge.

Ormond Beach police said around 5 p.m., one of their officers saw the red pickup truck at SR A1A and Granada Boulevard. The officer attempted to stop Blair, but the suspect fled at a high rate of speed.

When Blair tried to make a turn onto Harvard Drive, he crashed into a concrete utility pole, taking a string of traffic lights down and knocking out the power, according to police. Utility crews were out Thursday evening attempting to restore power to the intersection.

A vehicle crashed into a traffic light knocking down the light in Ormond Beach on March 21, 2019. Police are investigating the crash.

Police said Blair was taken to the Halifax Hospital for treatment after the crash.

Blair is in the custody of the Ormond Beach Police Department and faces charges in Volusia County. After he is released from the hospital and extradited to Brevard County, he will be charged with felony murder, burglary and robbery.

The Rev. Rob Goodridge, at St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, said Johnston belonged to his church.

"He served in our food bank, and he wasn't at the food bank this morning," Goodridge said. "Someone said that they heard that street where he lived was blocked off, so we started doing some digging. It's a great loss for us and our community."

Blair has criminal history in Brevard County. County jail records show he arrested in February on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest. In January, he was arrested by Melbourne police on  burglary and larceny charges.

Check ClickOrlando.com and watch News 6 for updates on this developing story.

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