Murder suspect from Pennsylvania among those who flocked to Florida beach

Police enforcing new social distancing guidelines arrest fugitive wanted in January killing

Police enforcing social distancing guidelines on a Florida beach arrested a 31-year-old murder suspect from Pennsylvania two days after the state eased its coronavirus restrictions, leading to droves of people flocking to the shore.

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Mario Matthew Gatti was taken into custody without incident Sunday after he was found loitering near the dunes of Jacksonville Beach, according to a report by CBS News.

Officers who first encountered Gatti soon learned he was wanted in the January shooting death of 33-year-old Michael Coover Jr. in Arnold, Pennsylvania, about 800 miles away.

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Jacksonville Beach Police posted news of the arrest to its Twitter account.

“This morning while officers patrolled the beach proper they captured a Fugitive from Justice, wanted in Arnold, Pennsylvania for Homicide. Good job!”

At the time of his arrest, Gatti was dressed in American flag surfer shorts, a blue short-sleeve shirt and no shoes. He was booked into the Duval County Jail, CBS reported.

Beaches in north Florida were among the first to reopen after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave municipalities the go-ahead Friday. The state hit a record number of coronavirus cases last weekend.

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The eased restrictions allow people to go to the beach for walking, running, swimming or surfing, but sunbathing and sitting are prohibited.