Fugitive arrested at Fla. beach by officers enforcing coronavirus restrictions

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. (CNN/Gray News) - A man accused of killing a 33-year-old father in Pennsylvania is in custody after Florida police found him lounging on a beach that was recently reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While officers patrolled Jacksonville Beach to enforce social distancing rules Sunday morning, they spotted 30-year-old Mario Gatti. Since he wasn’t exercising, he was violating regulations.

When the officers approached Gatti, they identified him as a murder suspect and fugitive from Arnold, Pennsylvania. Gatti was taken into custody and charged with giving false information and drug possession. In addition, he still faces a homicide charge in Pennsylvania.

Police say a warrant was issued for Gatti’s arrest in January after he allegedly shot and killed 33-year-old Michael Coover Jr. at an apartment complex, WJAX reports.

Coover’s family says he was a great father to his kids and will be missed. Shirley Clegg, his sister, told WJAX her family is finally getting some closure nearly four months after he was killed.

The arrest came just days after Jacksonville Beach and other beaches and parks in the area reopened amid the battle with COVID-19. Recreational activities are permitted, but sunbathing or lounging is not.

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