Gilchrist authorities arrest brothers for Ginnie Springs shooting 

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Authorities in Gilchrist County have arrested two brothers in connection with a murder that took place early Saturday morning at Ginnie Springs.  

The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) arrested Dallas Watts, 21, of St. Mary’s, Ga., and charged him with possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting an officer without violence.  

His brother, 18-year-old Fisher Watts, fled the scene and was arrested Monday in Camden County, Ga. He faces a single charge of first-degree murder.  

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At a Tuesday press conference, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz said Ginnie Springs attracted a huge crowd for Memorial Day weekend. He said responding deputies arrived to find some 20,000 people—more than the total population of Gilchrist County.  

“It was more like a rave party than it was a campground,” Schultz said.  

At 12:39 a.m. Saturday morning, GCSO received a call about the shooting and responded to the scene at the far east end of the park. Deputies located a deceased white male, Koty Edward Stewart out of Jacksonville. 

“Two suspects were quickly identified by several witnesses,” GCSO’s Bonita Rolling said at the press conference. “Opposing parties had engaged in two separate, physical altercations within an hour or two prior to the shooting.” 

Schultz thanked the partner agencies who aided the investigation, including the State Attorney’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Highway Patrol, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Dixie County Sheriff’s Office, Gilchrist County Fire Rescue and Gilchrist County Emergency Management. 

“These men and women deserve a lot of thanks,” Schultz said of all those who worked on the investigation.  

Fisher and Dallas Watts
Courtesy of GCSO Fisher and Dallas Watts

In a phone interview Wednesday, GSCO spokesperson Keagon Weatherford said investigators are not seeking additional suspects, but they are still gathering information about the events of that night.  

“The investigation is ongoing in an attempt to collect more evidence, more witnesses,” he said.  

A second shooting occurred at Ginnie Springs the next night, injuring three people. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is handling that investigation, which also revolved around an altercation.  

“There was a large fight involving multiple subjects,” FDLE’s Will Porter said at the press conference. “At some point, someone—our suspect—pulled a gun and shot into the crowd, unfortunately hitting three innocent bystanders that were not involved in the fight.”  

Porter said Tuesday that two of the victims were treated and released, while a third remained in “very serious condition.”  

Porter called on anyone with information about the shooting to contact the FDLE’s local field office at 386-462-9975. 

Ginnie Springs, located west of High Springs, is a private property with a history of deadly incidents, including last year on Memorial Day, when a woman fell out of a moving Jeep and was run over by a trailer. 

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Chris R

Alcohol, anger, and guns. Never a good combination. Funny, you don’t read about this kinda stuff happening at other lovely springs in the area-those springs don’t allow alcohol inside. Hello??

vidivici

wow a coupla real ‘winners’