Port St. Joe Man Faces Attempted Murder and Hate Crime Charges

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Port St. Joe - A Port St. Joe man is charged with attempted murder, with a hate crime enhancement, after admitting to shooting a black man in the head Monday night. Gulf County Sheriff's deputies arrested Walton Henry Butler, 59, just after 9pm at the Pine Ridge Apartments off Garrison Avenue. Deputies say he admitted to shooting the victim, 32-year-old Everett Gant, with a 22 caliber rifle. Gant is in guarded condition at Bay Medical Center, he is expected to survive.

Deputies say Butler had been calling black children in the apartment complex racial slurs and Gant went to talk with him about the comments. Witnesses say Butler opened the door and shot Gant in the face. Butler told deputies after he shot Gant, he shut the door, called 911 and finished cooking dinner.

When Sheriff Nugent arrived Butler told him he did not understand the problem and acted as if he was being inconvenienced. "He was brought to the investigation unit where he was interviewed and basically admitted to shooting the victim and said he shot a, used a racial slur, and said that is what he shot and acted like it was not like a big deal or anything to him," said Gulf County Sheriff Joe Nugent.

Butler is in the Gulf County jail. He will have his first appearance Tuesday morning.