"Bonnie and Clyde" were caught during a bloody shootout with Florida police early Friday morning. The young couple from Missouri were accused of committing multiple kidnappings and robberies over the course of several months in four different states. "Clyde" Blake Fitzgerald was killed during the shootout, and "Bonnie" Brittany Nicole Harper was wounded and sent to the hospital.
Blake Fitzgerald used his girlfriend, Brittany Harper, as a human shield during the Florida police standoff, according to a Daily Mail report. He was shot and killed while attempting to break into a house in Santa Rose County. Harper was transported to an area hospital for treatment for gunshot wounds. Her condition remains unknown at this time.
UPDATE: US Marshals offering $10K reward for capture of Blake Fitzgerald & Brittany Harper. https://t.co/9aROq4tj5Z pic.twitter.com/CpgZP7nRvc
— WJHG-TV (@WJHG_TV) February 4, 2016
The Missouri couple was quickly nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde by the media after news of their crime spree went viral. The shootout in Florida occurred after a robbery by Fitzgerald and Harper at a shoe store prompted high speed chase. According to WEAR-TV, the sounds of gunshots rang out in the early morning sky on a rural stretch of road near the town of Milton in the Pensacola area.
Blake Fitzgerald & Brittany Harper are wanted for 2 kidnappings and att.kidnapping today: https://t.co/l5dkq8RDrO pic.twitter.com/bgVFm7HSpR
— WIAT 42 (@WIAT42) January 31, 2016
Brittany Harper and Blake Fitzgerald were accused of stealing a gun from a residence in their hometown of Joplin, Missouri. The crime spree, which began there, stretched hundreds of miles in multiple jurisdictions. On January 31, the couple walked into a hotel in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and claimed they had run out of gas. Kyle Dease, the night desk clerk, said moments later Fitzgerald pulled out a gun and forced him into the car. They drove to Birmingham and let their victim go.
Bonnie and Clyde then tried to rob a McDonald's manager outside of the restaurant. The woman screamed, and the couple ran away. Just a short time later, they invaded a home in Vestavia Hills and claimed to have had car trouble when they encountered the homeowner. Fitzgerald pulled his gun, stole the family SUV, and then took the wife hostage. The woman was released unharmed a few miles away from the home.
'Bonnie And Clyde' In Deadly Florida Shootout https://t.co/eWabubGCmV
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 5, 2016
On February 1, the couple help up a convenience store clerk in south Georgia. They once again kidnapped a clerk, only to let him go unharmed after they had gotten safely away from the robbery.On February 3, they conducted two more robberies, and a $10,000 reward was placed on their heads. The police were finally able to corner them early this morning. Harper was reportedly shot in both legs during the encounter.
BONNIE & CLYDE NEWSER-SOT FRI0190-Blake Fitzgerald is dead and Brittany Harper is in hospital custody after shootout pic.twitter.com/PXfhV34HZl
— CBS Newspath (@cbsnewspath) February 5, 2016
The Bonnie and Clyde Missouri couple might be linked to a slate of robberies, kidnappings, and car thefts in Alabama and Georgia. The hotel clerk said that Fitzgerald said that he hated using a gun and felt that he "lost a little bit of himself" each time he pulled it out.Had he lived, Blake Fitzgerald would have likely faced multiple counts of first-degree robbery, kidnapping, and burglary. His criminal record reportedly included more than 100 charges dating back to 2003. The Missouri man had previously been charged with rape and assault. He was on probation when he embarked on the cross-country crime spree.
Brittany Harper has been charged with one first-degree count of theft and one first-degree kidnapping charge.
[Photo by Melissa Nelson-Gabriel/AP]