Two years ago a five-hour battle with an active shooter became Bay County’s ‘Worst Nightmare’

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Two years ago today members of the Bay County law enforcement community faced their worst nightmare and walked away unscathed.

It began when 49-year-old Kevin Holroyd killed his ex-wife’s fiance in Walton County. As investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office worked that case they let the Bay County officials know that Holroyd was their main suspect and that he lived in Briarwood Apartments in Panama City.

Deputies with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office put the complex under surveillance and as they watched Holroyd removed something from his truck and returned to his apartment. A short time later Panama City firefighters were called to the complex by one of Holroyd’s neighbors because of the smell of gas.

They traced it back to Holroyd’s apartment but he refused to answer the door. Investigators then surrounded the complex and began to head towards the apartment.

Before they could get close Holroyd began shooting at them. Officers, firefighters, and neighbors all ran for cover.

A stand-off followed as officers returned fire but could not leave cover or make it to Holroyd’s apartment. Officials said Holroyd fired more than 100 rounds at the officers.

Panama City Police Chief Scott Ervin called it his “worst nightmare.”

“I’ve seen a few things but I would have to say that is the most dangerous situation that I have faced,” said Sheriff Tommy Ford. “We’re just blessed we didn’t lose multiple officers and citizens.”

SWAT team members from both agencies used an armored vehicle to give the trapped officers cover and allow them to retreat.

Bay County Sheriff’s Office sniper David Sullivan shot Holroyd twice and prevented him from igniting a fire inside the apartment. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Holroyd took his own life after he was shot by Sullivan.

When the SWAT team breached his apartment they found him dead and drenched in gasoline and flares. Miraculously, no law enforcement officer was seriously hurt in the incident.

The next day Ford voice cracked as he spoke about the aftermath.

“There’s a lot of you know emotions that we’re facing today,” Ford said. “A lot of hallway hugs and ‘I love yous,’ because we know how it could have been different.”

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