10/03/2006

Fla. police kill man after crime spree

The Associated Press   

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.- A man suspected of being involved in a string of deadly crimes along the East Coast in which one person died has been killed by Florida officers.

The man crashed a vehicle after a high-speed chase late Monday, then drove toward officers holding a gun, said Chuck Mulligan, a St. Johns County sheriff's spokesman.

Several sheriff's deputies from St. Johns and Flagler counties opened fire, killing the man, Mulligan said.

Authorities were awaiting an autopsy before positively identifying him, but on the basis of his description and the car's license places they believe he was William T. Ashby, 37, of Savannah, Ga., Mulligan said.

"From all indications, this is the individual," Mulligan said.

The FBI had issued an arrest warrant for Ashby on Monday, saying he was suspected in a series of crimes from Virginia to Florida, including the death of University of Virginia graduate student Elizabeth Hafter, 22, who was found in Waynesboro, Va., near a car Ashby is believed to have stolen in Effingham County, Ga.

A convenience store clerk was shot before the car was stolen, and remains hospitalized, authorities said.

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