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Some residents getting desperate and turning to looting

Some residents getting desperate and turning to looting. (Source: WEAR-TV)

Hundreds of first responders have descended on Panama City.

Police, Fire, EMS as well as electricity and tree removal crews have arrived to assist with the recovery efforts but the situation is dire and people are getting desperate.

When Channel 3 crews arrived at the convenience store, the door was completely smashed.

In fact, When we got here, we found a few guys inside - grabbing stuff.

Since there is no running water or electricity, some folks are getting desperate and are turning to looting.

It’s extremely dangerous and it can be deadly, as we saw it here in Panama City.

The communication is limited in the area and at times non-existent.

Power lines are still lying across roadways and there’s no running water.

Residents in Panama City are now getting desperate and Christopher Donahue isn’t taking any chances.

“This [storm] hit so hard and so fast that, the different aspects of human nature is going to come out, and people are going to do anything to survive", says Donahue.

We’ve seen Evidence of looting - broken doors and shattered glass at several businesses.

We even caught a few guys in the act who tell us, they’re just friends of the owner, before taking off with a backpack full of stuff.

There was even a fatal shooting reported overnight here on Pinetree Road and Azalea Street.

One citizen told us, he saw one man trying to steal a law enforcement vehicle.

We asked “Where did he go down?" About 10 feet behind that direct tv sign, said Landon Swett who was across the street at the time.

“He yelled at me a little bit, he said oh, I’m looting, and he opened the door, to the police officer’s SUV with the lights going got in it and shut the door," says Swett.

That’s when Swett says he grabbed his family and head for the house.

Swett, said, “As I’m crossing the doorway, I look back, I saw the officer at the passenger side, I don’t believe the door was open yet, I believe had both hands like this. Then I got about three more feet inside, and I heard the shot.”

We’re told by Lt. Eddie Elmore with Florida Highway Patrol, Florida State Fire Marshals were the ones involved in the shooting.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed to us they are investigating the shooting incident.

The curfew for the Panama City area is still in effect. From dusk until dawn, no one is allowed out on the roads.

Police are taking the curfew seriously. Those caught violating the order could be ticketed.


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