JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 200 officers from at least four agencies spent Wednesday searching a wooded area on the Duval-Clay county border for a man accused of shooting four people in Middleburg on Monday.
The search for Christopher Scott Kilgore became more focused after a man matching his description held up a gas station on Normandy Boulevard on Tuesday night and was spotted by a homeowner and school bus driver early Wednesday morning.
"This guy has already killed two people and shot two others," Jacksonville Undersheriff Frank Mackesy said late Wednesday afternoon. "This is a dangerous guy."
Kilgore's parents' vehicle was found Wednesday morning two miles north of the Kangaroo gas station that was robbed, and police said they heard from a resident who saw the man at her front door late Tuesday night.
"She was just very terrified, because, at the time, her husband was not home," Larry Davis, principal of Clay Hill Elementary, was told by a woman on his staff. "(Her husband) drove up right when the person was knocking on the door, and then (the man) took off into the woods."
Davis also said a bus driver picking up children Wednesday morning spotted a man matching Kilgore's description.
Another man told police he was leaving his house to take his kids to school Wednesday morning when he was approached by Kilgore (See video at bottom of story). When Kilgore saw that the homeowner had a gun, Kilgore took off into the woods, leaving his parents' SUV behind.
Deputies from Clay and Duval counties set up a perimeter from Normandy Boulevard on the north, McClelland Road to the east, Long Branch Road to the south and County Road 217 to the west. In addition to scores of officers on foot, on ATVs and horseback, bloodhounds and two helicopters were involved in the search effort.
Deputies said Kilgore should be considered armed and dangerous and urge residents to stay indoors with their doors locked and garage doors closed. Residents are also urged to call 911 immediately if they see Kilgore. They are asked not to try and confront him.
"We have had a couple of reports of people with guns, and it pulls deputies off of the search area to check that out," Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said Wednesday morning. "If someone's out with a gun, we don't know whether they're the suspect or the homeowner, so I would encourage people to stay in their homes and don't try to confront anybody."
With nightfall approaching Wednesday, Mackesy reinforced that statement, saying that uniformed officers would be going door-to-door within the search area throughout the evening, and they don't want anyone getting hurt.
Some residents told Channel 4 that while they trust police, they know officers can't be everywhere all the time.
"We're out here by ourselves so ... we do what we have to to be safe," Maxville resident Dan Lanier told Channel 4.
Clay Hill and Wilkinson elementary schools -- both on State Road 218 -- were placed on lock down Wednesday, not because the children were in any danger, but because of police activity in the area.
Clay County schools said that because County Road 217 and Long Branch Road were closed by police activity, children who normally ride the bus to those areas were kept at school until their parents or guardians could pick them up.
Jacksonville police advised parents of students with bus stops west of the 10100 block of Normandy Boulevard that their children were held for pickup at Baldwin Middle/Senior High School, 291 Mill Street.
Police asked that parents to drive their children to school if they can Thursday morning, and if they can't, then call the non-emergency police numbers, and their children will be picked up by officers.
"We do not want a child walking to a school bus stop in the morning and there be any chance of anything happening out of the ordinary," Mackesy said. "We don't think that there is any danger at this point, other than the fact that we do have an armed murder suspect loose in that perimeter."
The First Baptist Church of Maxville and Sonrise Baptist Church canceled Wednesday evening services due to the manhunt.
Several agencies have searched for Kilgore, 33, since deputies found four people shot on his family's rural Middleburg property before dawn on Monday.
Kilgore's younger brother, Raymond, and his friend, James Coody, were killed, and Kilgore's parents were both seriously injured.
A VyStar account has been set up for Raymond Kilgore's family to help with funeral expenses. The account listed under Norma Griffin is No. 702842810. A VyStar account has also been set up to help Coody's family with funeral expenses. The account listed under James Allen Coody Jr. is No. 70284033.
Channel 4 was told a man matching Kilgore's description and armed with a shotgun and knife entered a convenience store near the Clay-Duval county border just before 9 p.m. Tuesday. A witness said the gunman ordered people in the store to "get in the bathroom or you are going to die," put a gun to a clerk's head, grabbed cash, cigarettes and candy, then took off.
"The fact that he's emerged out of the woods and conducted an armed robbery at least let us know he's still in the area," Beseler said.
The robber was driving a blue Chevy Trailblazer, possibly the same vehicle investigators believe Kilgore drove away from Monday's homicide scene. That SUV was found abandoned early Wednesday two miles from the store.
Beseler praised the level of cooperation between the agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service and the Florida Game and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He said even St. Johns County had sent its helicopter to assist in the search and Alachua County has offered to help with resources.
"We'll be in this community until we exhaust our search or capture the suspect," Mackesy said.
Westside resident John Waters describes his encounter with Christopher Scott Kilgore as he was taking his son to the bus stop Wednesday morning (Video courtesy of Jacksonville.com):