82ºF

Jacksonville murder suspect shoots self during standoff in Kansas

26-year-old wanted in Sept. 2015 murder at Candlewood Suites, JSO says

WICHITA, Kan. – A 26-year-old man wanted on a murder warrant from Jacksonville remains in critical condition after a shootout Wednesday with U.S. marshals in Wichita, Kansas.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it will not release the suspect's name since it is an ongoing investigation, but did confirm the man was wanted in connection to a Sept. 5, 2015 robbery and homicide that occurred at Candlewood Suites.

Investigators said Johnny Mooney, 39, was shot and killed after getting into a confrontation with another man and a woman at the East Arlington hotel. 

Wichita police Lt. Todd Ojile said marshals and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were watching a home on South Ellis when the suspect and a woman came out and got into a car. When officers approached to make an arrest, the man fired shots with a handgun. Deputy marshals returned fire, but the man and woman drove off, only to crash into a house a short time later.

The man and woman took off in different directions. Officers found the man, who had shot himself once in the head. He remains hospitalized. Wichita police said the murder suspect has ties to Wichita, but it's not yet known why or for how long he was here. 

Police are still looking for a 27-year-old woman who ran. They said she is not connected to the murder in Jacksonville.

Joseph Euton, a friend of Mooney, said he was relieved to find out the suspect had been caught.

"Out of the blue, the past three days, it was on my mind and my heart and I chose to give a detective a call to see where the case stood. We played phone tag for a couple days, he was off the first time I called. Finally today we spoke, and I was surprised he let me know there was an apprehension. He wouldn't got into details but I was pretty elated," Euton said. "It should bring some closure for the family."

Over a year after Mooney's death and 1,300 miles away from Jacksonville, marshals tracked down the 26-year-old suspect to a home just south of Wichita, Kansas.

"So often, it's solved by really good detective work and quite often, once the information is put out there, the public comes through with what could be very minor information that could lead them to where the suspect is," said Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst. 

According to the Wichita Police Department, marshals were approaching the man to serve an arrest warrant about 12:30 p.m. when the suspect opened fire.

Officials returned gunshots as the man then got into a car, police said. 

He drove off with a woman, police said, then crashed into a home a few blocks away while fleeing.

Authorities were able to corner the suspect and as they began to approach him, he shot himself, according to police. The suspect was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

"This happens quite often in homicides. They're not always solved within a few days. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes they hit a dead end and don't have any clues and the slightest amount of evidence could lead them there," Smith said. 

Officials have not yet released what led them to Wichita. Since the murder suspect survived the gunshot, Smith said, officials will wait until he recovers before taking him into custody.

"Since he did sustain a self-inflicted wound, he'll be in the hospital and won't be transported anywhere until he gets released from the hospital. Then, at some point, he will make a court appearance in Wichita and will be extradited back to Jacksonville," Smith said.

No marshals were injured in the standoff.