Florida man kills mother and 2 other women before dying in gunfight with deputies, sheriff says

This undated mugshot released by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office shows murder suspect Javontee Brice. Authorities believe Brice fatally shot his mother and two other women in separate locations, Monday, June 24, 2024, before dying in a gunfight with deputies hundreds of miles away. (Manatee County Sheriff's Office via AP)

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man fatally shot his mother and two other women he knew in separate locations before dying in a gunfight with deputies hundreds of miles away, a sheriff said Tuesday.

Officials identified the shooter as Javontee Brice, 28. Authorities believe Brice killed the women Monday night in Manatee County, south of Tampa, and was headed to Georgia to confront an ex-girlfriend when he was stopped by deputies from Hamilton County.

During the stop, Brice got out of his car firing a handgun and was fatally shot by the deputies, Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said at a news conference. Hamilton County, which is along the Georgia border, is about 240 miles (386 kilometers) away from the scene of the other slayings.

“He came out of the car shooting at deputies. They returned fire,” Wells said.

In addition to Brice's mother, a second victim was Brice's cousin and the third was a female partner of another of Brice's ex-girlfriends, Wells said. Witnesses to all three shootings identified Brice as the killer.

“We don't know what set him off,” the sheriff said. “We don't know why he chose to kill his loved ones. We may never know.”

The names of the victims were not immediately released. The slayings came after a spate of shootings over the first weekend of the summer left dozens dead or wounded at a party in Alabama, an entertainment district in Ohio and a grocery store in Arkansas.

Initially, Wells said Brice went to an apartment where his sister and an ex-girlfriend were staying. He told the ex-girlfriend “I have to kill you,” but his sister talked him out of it, noting to investigators he was acting strangely.

Next, Brice went to a motel where his 48-year-old mother, two much younger sisters and the mother's boyfriend were, and shot his mother three times in front of the others, Wells said. The cousin, 29, was shot in a car after leaving a cookout. The third woman was shot at a home in Bradenton.

Wells said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the actions of the Hamilton County deputies, a step that is standard practice for shootings involving officers. The deputies were not injured.