Florida murder suspect arrested in Wayne County

Florida murder suspect arrested in Wayne County

JESUP, Ga. (WTOC) - A 28-year-old Florida man has been arrested in connection with a murder that took place in Broward County, Fla.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office says Eric Vail, Jr. was arrested Wednesday on Lanes Bridge Road in Jesup after a two-and-a-half-hour long standoff, during which time other residents were removed from the home.

Eric Vail. Source: Wayne County Sheriff's Office
Eric Vail. Source: Wayne County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff John Carter says his office worked with U.S. Marshals to confirm whether Vail was in the area, then to take him into custody without anyone getting hurt.

Plywood covers the windows the marshals broke with flash bombs Wednesday as they tried to get Vail to surrender. He faces charges in Florida that he shot a man to death last fall. Marshals began checking in Wayne County.

“They felt, since he had family here, he might be coming here.”

Authorities acted on a tip that he was in the area with a handful of people, including a seven-year-old child.

“We certainly didn’t want to go busting in there where there’s a kid, shooting flash bang grenades and everything until it was clear,” Sheriff Carter said.

The standoff lasted more than two hours, but finally, they had Vail alone. They sent a K-9 Unit and a flash grenade in to stun him.

“The U.S. Marshals took him out the window. He was handcuffed without further incident.”

Vail had been on the run since Florida authorities changed the charges against him and the jail released him by mistake.

“We take every safeguard we can. We double check to make sure we don’t release anybody that shouldn’t be - especially with a crime that serious,” Sheriff Carter said.

The sheriff says they have one person in custody who was in the house. She’s in jail on a probation violation with more charges possible. Charges are also pending against other people who were there when it happened.

Multiple agencies assisted in the arrest, including the Southeastern Regional Fugitive Task Force of the US Marshals Service (Savannah office), a Broward Sheriff’s Office Unit assigned to the US Marshals Service Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. Jesup PD, Wayne County EMS, Wayne County EMA, and the Madray Springs Volunteer Fire Department also worked on the case.

This is an ongoing investigation. If you have any information, please contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at 912.427.5970.

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