Report: Gunman warned Louisville stepbrothers ‘I’m going to shoot you’ on Florida beach

Family member says suspect asked for cigarette before shooting boys
Two teen boys shot in Panama City Beach, Fla., overnight were from the Louisville area, WAVE 3 News has learned.
Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 9:27 PM EDT
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Two boys from Kentucky were shot around 1:30 a.m. (CDT) March 23, 2021 at a resort in Panama...
Two boys from Kentucky were shot around 1:30 a.m. (CDT) March 23, 2021 at a resort in Panama City Beach, Fla. One of the boys died, the other was wounded. Police have made an arrest in the case.(Source: WJHG)

(WAVE) - A Florida man accused of killing a Louisville teenager and wounding that victim’s teen stepbrother has been arrested and charged with murder.

Christopher Lawrence Cox, 37, of Panama City Beach, Fla., also faces one count of attempted murder.

The stepbrothers -- whose names have not been released -- were shot early Tuesday morning along Panama City Beach after they encountered Cox on the beach around 1:30 am, police said in a statement. Police also said one teen was found dead at the scene once emergency crews arrived, and the other being treated by a witness who happened to be nearby. He rushed to a local hospital. The boys, both 14 years old, were on vacation with their families.

A family member of the boys shared additional insight into the incident that has yet to be confirmed by official police sources. The family member, who is spending Tuesday driving from Louisville to Florida, said in a telephone interview with WAVE 3 News that the boys were walking on the beach when Cox approached them and asked for a cigarette.

The man did not leave the boys alone, and allegedly said “You better run for the ocean because I’m going to shoot you,” before shooting at the boys, the family member said.

That family member also told WAVE 3 News that a security guard nearby heard the shooting before rushing in to tackle Cox. Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman said the weapon used in the shooting has been recovered. The boys’ identities were not immediately available.

A city spokeswoman said the suspect had actually moved from the Louisville area to Panama City Beach last year and is in his late 30s. The police statement issued Tuesday made no mention of whether Cox knew the family from his time in Louisville, calling that a coincidence.

The shootings happened near the Shores of Panama, a 23-story beachfront resort on the Gulf of Mexico.

Officers said they were able to watch security footage from the resort of what happened that morning.

The police on the scene report the video showed silhouettes of people standing around beach chairs in front of a hut. White flashes followed soon afterward. The further video showed Cox take off running after the scene. He laid down as soon as officers made contact with him, surrendering for arrest.

There is body camera footage of the arrest from police.

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