Tragic Shooting in Keystone Heights: Suspect in Custody, One Dead and One Injured

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A tragic incident unfolded in Keystone Heights, Florida, as a 23-year-old man was taken into custody for the alleged shooting that resulted in the death of another man and the injury of his estranged girlfriend. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office responded to a distressing report of a shooting at a residence along State Road 100 on Saturday, June 24.

23-year-old in custody after shooting, killing, and injuring girlfriend. (Photo: truecrimedaily)

Upon arrival at the scene, deputies discovered a male victim in the driveway, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Tragically, despite the efforts of Clay County Fire Rescue, the victim could not be saved and was pronounced dead on the spot. The authorities also found a female victim with an apparent gunshot wound. Swiftly, she was transported to a local hospital to receive urgent medical attention for her injuries.

The female victim, who is estranged from the alleged shooter, bravely identified her attacker as John Thornton. However, before law enforcement could intervene, Thornton managed to flee the scene. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office promptly alerted neighboring law enforcement agencies, informing them of the suspect’s vehicle. Officials from the Bradford County Sheriff’s Department located Thornton’s car and successfully took him into custody.

As the investigation unfolded, it was revealed that the two victims had occasionally permitted Thornton to stay in their homes. However, the relationship between Thornton and the female victim had been strained due to incidents of domestic violence. On the day of the tragic shooting, Thornton arrived at the residence uninvited. The victims, standing firm against his unwelcome presence, ordered him to leave. Ignoring their pleas, Thornton attempted to enter the home once again. It was at this moment that he allegedly drew a firearm and opened fire, targeting his estranged girlfriend and the male victim.

John Thornton now faces serious charges, including second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder. The Clay County Jail currently holds him without bond, and he is scheduled to appear in court on July 24 to answer for his alleged crimes.

Expressing her deep sadness over the devastating turn of events, Sheriff Michelle Cook stated, “The victims were trying to help a friend and sadly became the target of the suspect.” The community mourns the loss of life and prays for the swift recovery of the injured victim, while authorities work diligently to ensure justice is served in this heartbreaking case.

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