2 dead after online argument leads to shootout in St. Augustine

Double shooting happened at King Food Mart on West King Street

By Erik Avanier - Reporter , David Benfield - Web producer

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - An argument outside a convenience store Saturday turned into a deadly shooting, claiming the lives of two men who arrived to settle an argument, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said.

Shortly before 10 a.m., officers responded to gunfire at the King Food Mart at the corner of West King and Herbert streets.

Police said they found Canyon Charles Molitor, 25, dead at the scene from multiple gunshots. The other shooter, Elroi Ishmael Ashley, 30, of St. Augustine, was taken to Flagler Hospital in a private vehicle, where he died from at least one gunshot. Ashley was engaged to be married, according to his Facebook page.

Police said the men were engaged in an argument online and had agreed to meet at the store.

Detectives said once the men were face to face, they quickly began a verbal argument, which led to the men brandishing handguns and firing, while other uninvolved patrons entered and exited the store. 

According to a recorded 911 call from one of Molitor's friends, Molitor had two handguns and heard word going around that the two men were going to meet. 

Authorities closed down West King Street for several hours during the investigation.

"We don’t know if any evidence spilled out into the roadway," St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said. "This road is closed to prevent anyone from hindering the investigation."

Investigators continue to look into the issues surrounding the initial argument, which led to the men meeting at the store. 

The investigation is continuing pending forensic examinations, autopsy findings and additional interviews surrounding the incident.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith spent years investigating crimes for JSO. He said although both shooters are dead, investigators still need to find answers to a multitude of questions.

“They’re going to want to find out why these people are armed?" Smith said. "What brought them to this location and why did they end up in gunfire? They also want to find out if they have relatives or friends involved that may want to try to retaliate.”

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