Suspect in Sandestin shooting released from hospital, booked into jail

Gunner Cole, 21, of Warner Robins, Georgia.
Gunner Cole, 21, of Warner Robins, Georgia.(Walton County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 9:15 PM CDT
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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Walton County Sheriff’s Office says the person behind a shooting rampage in Sandestin has been released from the hospital and booked into the Walton County Jail Wednesday.

In a WCSO news release, officials said Gunner Harding Cole, 21, of Warner Robbins, Georgia has been formally arrested and booked into the Walton County Jail. Cole is charged with attempted murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and aggravated battery with a firearm – all felonies.

Cole’s charges stem from an incident on September 21st where the Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to the sound of gunfire in the Sandestin area. WCSO said they received multiple 911 calls of an active shooter in the area of Heron Walk Drive and Baytowne Avenue.

Authorities said within minutes, deputies located the suspect who opened fire. A deputy returned fire and shot Cole. Deputies then arrested him.

Officials say during the incident, a victim who was struck in the back drove north to Baytowne Wharf and was later transported to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. He told investigators as he approached the roundabout at Heron Walk Drive and Baytowne Avenue, he saw a man standing in the road shooting at cars. He then realized he had been shot.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is still actively investigating a death that they say they believe is linked to this incident and identifying others who were allegedly targeted by Cole in what officials call a “random act of violence.” WCSO said they expect Cole to face more charges.

“It is imperative that we conduct a thorough investigation, so we not only accomplish an arrest but achieve a successful prosecution,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson in a news release. “This type of violence will not be tolerated in Walton County.”

Cole will have first appearance Thursday morning. He was booked into the Walton County Jail Wednesday afternoon.