Duval County

Jacksonville Beach: Police arrest man wanted for murder in Pennsylvania while patrolling beach

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — After Jacksonville Beach reopened on its third day Sunday, police arrested a man suspected of homicide who traveled there from Pennsylvania.

Jacksonville Beach police posted a picture on their Twitter page; Mario Gatti is pictured in the American flag shorts.

Jacksonville Beach police say while officers were patrolling the beach to make sure of social distancing, they arrested Gatti after they saw him lounging on the dunes.

A be on the look out was issued to officers for Gatti, officers recognized him from the day before. Beach police say a warrant was issued for Gatti’s arrest after he shot and killed 33-year-old Michael Coover Jr. in January.

The shooting happened at an apartment complex in Arnold, Pennsylvania.

Four months later, Gatti would be captured more than 800 miles away on Jacksonville Beach. Jacksonville Police said officers had told him to get off the beach at closing time. They went back to the same spot and captured him.

Action News Jax checked Gatti’s criminal background and jail records show that he’s been in and out of jail for crimes like possession of a firearm, possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, and drug crimes.

Most recently, Gatti was arrested in October of 2019 for possession of marijuana.

Police say Gatti is now being charged with criminal homicide, burglary and a firearms violation.

After his arrest, Gatti was taken to the Duval County jail.

Family members of the shooting victim told Action News Jax reporter Jamarlo Phillips Coover was a great father to his kids and he will be missed.

Shirley Clegg, the victim’s sister, said her family is finally getting some closure nearly four months after her brother was killed.

“My brother has some type of closure, my family has some type of closure, you know. This is something -- this is hard to go through with kids, and family, and everything,” Clegg said by phone.

Gatti appeared in front of a judge Monday morning on charges of giving police false information and drug possession without prescription. He pleaded guilty to those charges and is now awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania

Lindsey Nolen

Lindsey Nolen

Lindsey Nolen is a Digital Content Producer for Action News Jax

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