County man charged in store shooting

Published 4:01 pm Monday, May 9, 2011

An Atmore man is behind bars today after shooting a Century, Fla. man Mother’s Day afternoon in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly grocery store located off Hwy. 97 in Davisville, Fla.

According to family members on the scene at the time of the incident, the shooting was the result of an ongoing feud between the two white males over a woman. The shooter, 57-year-old Gary Winston Smith of Rockaway Creek Road, has been charged with aggravated battery in connection with the shooting. He remained in the Escambia County Jail Monday morning with bond set at $10,000.

Personnel with LifeFlight, airlifted 45-year-old Garland Rodney Johnson, who was shot in the abdomen, from the scene. He is recovering from his injuries at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Fla.

Witnesses said that Johnson pulled into the parking lot in his Nissan Altima, parked and approached the sidewalk to the grocery store near where Smith’s silver Ford Mustang was parked, which he was standing beside. Witnesses said the two began to argue and Smith fired a shot from a .22-caliber Derringer revolver. Johnson then walked inside the store bleeding from the gunshot wound and employees of the store called 911.

Following the shooting, Smith waited on sheriff’s deputies in the parking lot of the grocery store for more than 15 minutes next to his Mustang. Upon arrival, deputies, with weapons drawn, immediately detained him and confiscated a small derringer revolver. He then admitted to the shooting, according to authorities.

The shooting remains under investigation by the Escambia County, Fla. Sheriff’s Office.

Personnel with Atmore Ambulance and the Walnut Hill Volunteer Fire Department also assisted on the scene.