Police: Man shot driver, fled to Florida for spring break

AP News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2015 2:00 PM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A South Carolina man fatally shot another man in the head, stole his car and then drove to Florida for spring break, Daytona Beach police said.

Police arrested 24-year-old Donald Harper Jr. on Tuesday after he led officers on a 20-mile high-speed chase on Interstate 95. The chase ended when Harper crashed the stolen vehicle.

Harper confessed to killing 34-year-old Ronald Brown, police Chief Mike Chitwood said.

"What else do you do after you practically execute someone and steal their car? You come down to Daytona Beach," Chitwood said.

The police chief said Harper told him Brown had offered a ride early Sunday morning as he walked in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Brown asked him for gas money and pulled out a gun after he got into his vehicle, Harper told the chief.

Harper told the police that he pulled out his own gun and shot Brown. Afterward, he cleaned the car, picked up a friend and they decided to drive down to Florida. They ended up at a nightclub and then parked the vehicle so they could sleep. An officer on patrol saw the men sleeping in the car, ran a check on the license plate, and found it had been stolen in a carjacking and homicide, Chitwood said.

Police officers surrounded the area, but Harper was able to speed out of the parking lot, initiating the chase.

At a news conference Wednesday in Columbia, South Carolina, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said that Harper had recently gotten out of prison and had a lengthy criminal record.

"How callous can you be? You shoot someone, you kill him, and then you take his car ... and you go to Daytona Beach for spring break," Lott said. "That just doesn't fit."

Brown was an instructor at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina.

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Information from: Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com