Wanted man nabbed in GB Proper

Posted on March 25, 2016 by Mat Pellegrino

A man with a history of violent criminal activity led law enforcement officers on a manhunt in the Gulf Island National Seashore on Sunday.
The suspect, Johnny Cortez Hall, 40, of Milton, was clocked going 65 mph in a 45 mph zone in Gulf Breeze proper early Sunday evening, prompting a traffic stop by the Gulf Breeze Police Department.
When a police officer caught up with the suspect, Hall pulled his vehicle into the Compass Bank parking lot just east of Gulf Breeze Hospital.
Upon conducting the traffic stop, the officer noted a strong odor of marijuana and alcohol coming from the vehicle. The driver had his girlfriend in the car with him at the time.
When the officer conducted a warrants check, it revealed the man had an open warrant for aggravated assault from the Milton Police Department.
“I know he had a warrant for aggravated battery and he was flagged for other (violent crimes),” said GBPD Sgt. Steph Neff.
When the officer noticed the open warrant, he escorted Hall out of the vehicle and asked the man to turn around and put his hands up. That’s when the suspect fled on foot south across Gulf Breeze Parkway and into the Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve.
The suspect was able to lose the officer on foot, and GBPD called in officers with the Escambia County and Santa Rosa County sheriff’s offices to assist in the search.
“When he took off running, we called in Escambia to assist since they were close,” Neff said.
Both Escambia County officers and GBPD officers dispatched their police K-9s to hunt the man down.
Escambia County deputies eventually captured the suspect who was attempting to hide in the National Seashore. Meanwhile, the suspect’s girlfriend, who was in the car with him during the stop, fled from the car while the officer attempted to catch Hall on foot.
According to Neff, she is not being sought in the investigation.
“She was a passenger, and passengers don’t have to stick around after a stop. She could leave whenever she wanted,” he said.
Hall was slapped with a Moving Traffic Violation charge and Resisting an Officer by GBPD. He was also charged with Aggravated Battery by Milton Police when he was booked. Despite the charges, he was released early Monday morning on $10,000 bond.
Hall had no other prior arrests in Santa Rosa County according to their Jail Records.
Escambia County Jail records show Hall had been arrested once in Escambia on drug charges and for possessing a weapon.