In the race to find a Panama City Beach shooter bystanders became heroes

Panama City Beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach Police said Friday that several bystanders made a huge difference after a shooting at Pier Park.

The incident happened behind the Buffalo Wild Wings around 6:30 p.m. Thursday night. Two people got into a verbal argument and shots were fired.

The gunman, 29 year old Leon Marquis Patton from Ozark, Alabama is facing a number of firearm charges including carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm in public, and using a firearm while intoxicated. He is now in the Bay County Jail. 

Panama City Beach Police say when they arrived at Pier Park, Patton had already fled the scene. 

Captain John Deegins said the public played a huge role in his arrest. 

After 19 years a suspect is now charged with killing a baby in Okaloosa County

 “Because they got involved and they spoke with law enforcement on scene we were able to apprehend the suspect quickly and efficiently,” Deegins said. 

Several people followed Patton to The Grand Theater and kept track of him until police could take him into custody.

Deegins said Patton and the other person involved are no longer a threat to the community. 

“First and foremost the Panama City Beach Police Department takes safety as the number one priority for our residents and the visitors that come here,” Deegins said. 

Panama City Beach officials say the chances of finding the suspect without help from the public are slim.

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