Arrest made after shots fired outside Nassau County gas station

A drone with an infrared camera was used to search the area and spotted someone hiding about 150 feet from the roadway.

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Investigators with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office say they’ve made an arrest after shots were fired early Friday morning at a gas station on US-17.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said a man had left his car parked at the convenience store earlier in the day, and when he returned, the man and his friends noticed another man walking around the parking lot.

“They asked him, what are you doing? He said he was looking for his girl and some words were exchanged,” Leeper explained. “The suspect goes and gets in his vehicle. Before he pulls out of the parking lot, he shoots several rounds from a semi-automatic handgun toward those three individuals.”

Leeper said the shooter fled from the scene. He said a deputy found an abandoned vehicle fitting a description of the shooter’s car near a wooded area. A drone with an infrared camera was used to search the area and spotted someone hiding about 150 feet from the roadway.

“Deputies called for him to come out. He complied, and they did find the weapon beside the vehicle abandoned there,” Leeper said.

The sheriff said the Sheriff’s Office has had the drone for several months, but it’s the first time it was used to make an arrest.

Deputies arrested Ernset Bannister, 31. He’s charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting deadly missiles into a dwelling and felony criminal mischief.


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