Murder suspect caught on Florida beach after COVID restrictions lifted

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A fugitive wanted to for murder tried to get some sun on one of Florida’s recently reopened beaches this weekend. But he ended up behind bars instead.

Jacksonville Beach Police said they apprehended Mario Matthew Gatti, 30, who has been on the loose since January after he allegedly shot a man in western Pennsylvania after they found him loitering near a sand dune Sunday morning. Gatti was wearing a T-shirt, a sleeveless hoodie and a large pair of stars-and-stripes shorts when he was arrested, according to a photo released by police.

On Jan. 16, Gatti allegedly shot and killed Michael Coover, Jr., 33, at an apartment building in Arnold, Pa., just west of Pittsburgh.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed local beaches to open last weekend. Crowds flocked to some beaches including Jacksonville Beach, in droves despite some of the calls for precaution on mass gatherings.

Jacksonville Beach Police charged Gatti with several criminal counts, including giving false information to a law enforcement officer and drug possession, the police said. Attorney information wasn’t immediately available.

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