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‘I’m going to kill you’: Beer can thrown at passing Can-Am dune buggy driver sparks stunning Florida shooting

Wallace Kirkland

Wallace Kirkland (Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

A Floridian spent his Friday evening hurling a beer can in the direction of a passing Can-Am dune buggy driver and opening fire when that driver responded by saying something like “I’m going to kill you,” according to sheriff’s deputies in Lake County.

Investigators say that defendant Wallace Mannin Kirkland, 59, was armed with a pistol when he shot a man with whom he had “several verbal altercations in the past.” Kirkland’s wife and a neighbor are said to have witnessed the shooting unfold right in front of them.

Using a Ruger, Kirkland allegedly fired one shot and killed the man.

“In 05/12/2023 the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call in reference to a person who had just been shot on or near [the victim] in Lake County,” said the brief affidavit of probable cause, which did not name the victim. “Upon arrival at the crime scene, LCSO deputies found [redacted] to have a gunshot wound to his torso. [The victim] was transported to Waterman Hospital in East’s where he succumbed to his injury and was pronounced deceased.”

Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigators said they interviewed witnesses who confirmed that Kirkland had several past wars of words.

The defendant’s wife and a neighbor, respectively identified in the affidavit as Dorothy Kirkland and Ronald West, were “standing on the side of the road across from [the victim] and were conversing” before the shooting. Witness testimony established that Wallace Kirkland threw a beer can in the direction of the dune buggy, the LCSO said.

“[The victim] came driving by in a Cam am [sic] dune buggy/side by side type of vehicle. Based on testimony, Wallace Kirkland either attempted to or did throw a beer can over [the victim’s] vehicle as he passed,” documents said. “[The victim] then exited his vehicle and approached Wallace Kirkland and stated something similar to ‘I’m going to kill you.'”

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That’s when Kirkland allegedly shot the dune buggy driver in the chest.

Among the victim’s last words was a statement of shock and disbelief that Kirkland shot him, authorities said.

“When interviewed, witnesses did not note a weapon in [the victim’s] hands. Also, [the victim] was outnumbered and was physically smaller than both Wallace Kirkland and Ronald West. When [the victim]  got within approximately 3 to 4 feet, witnesses heard a gunshot and [the victim] stated he couldn’t believe that Wallace Kirkland shot him.”

The fatally wounded victim got back into his dune buggy and briefly drove before he lost consciousness and ultimately died, the affidavit concluded.

Manslaughter, a second-degree felony, is the “killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification,” Florida law says. The defendant also faces the charge of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Records show that Kirkland bonded out of jail at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, five hours after he was booked. His bond was $40,000.

The court docket indicates that Kirkland has hired a private defense attorney.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.