Neighbors react to shooting in Panama City Beach

Local News

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — After the Fourth of July, you can sometimes still hear fireworks across the area. This is why it’s understandable that neighbors of Bahama Beach Motel first thought nothing of the commotion they heard on Tuesday night.

“Well I heard, but I thought they were firecrackers. Come to find out, they were a gun,” said Susie little, a neighbor.

Panama City Beach police said Hunter Howard Smith drove to the apartment complex and sold narcotics to the victim.

They said he along with another man and a woman all used the narcotics.

Little said this kind of behavior isn’t unusual for the apartment complex.

“There’s just a lot of riff raff coming and going there all hours of the night. All the nice things we do to our houses and stuff, that kind of ruins it,” said Little.

Police said Smith had fallen asleep, woke up in an agitated state, and recklessly grabbed a 9 mm handgun.

An altercation had occurred when the victim tried to take the gun away then Smith fired.

He reportedly had shot the victim multiple times in the stomach then left. He then called the police himself.

“There were police all up and down this road. Probably five to seven police cars and somebody is laying in there,” said Little.

Smith claimed he had been involved in a self-defense shooting, but police said evidence proved otherwise.

The woman involved was not hurt, the victim was pronounced dead at the hospital and Smith is being charged with second degree murder.

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