Large chunks of South and Central Broward County were paralyzed for most of the day Tuesday as federal agents and local police fanned out in search of a man wanted for a shooting death, three carjackings at gunpoint and several car crashes.
The crime spree and police chase, reminiscent of scenes from the popular video game Grand Theft Auto, left commuters stuck in gridlock on what is already one of the busiest weeks of the year in South Florida. It also closed down sections of Fort Lauderdale and Hallandale Beach near their respective Interstate 95 ramps.
Helicopters circled neighborhoods. Police dogs searched for scents. Police SWAT teams set up local command centers. And the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, made up of federal agents and police officers from Miami-Dade and Broward counties, took charge of the search.
Well into Tuesday night, after piecing the day’s events together, law enforcement was searching for Gregory B. Moore, 35, also known as “Pop.” He is wanted for a double shooting that left a man dead and a woman believed to be Moore’s estranged girlfriend in critical condition.
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Moore’s binge, which began at 8a.m. on Sunrise Boulevard in Central Broward, also included three carjackings at gunpoint and several vehicle crashes. The chase also forced the closing of two main arterial roads, Hallandale Beach and Broward boulevards, and the lockdown of five Broward public schools.
Moore was last seen fleeing on foot at 8:59a.m. after crashing a vehicle he had commandeered on the northbound off-ramp of Broward Boulevard and I-95, the main entrance to downtown Fort Lauderdale. By early afternoon, lockdowns at Stranahan and Dillard high schools and three nearby elementary schools had been lifted. Traffic again flowed on Hallandale Beach and Broward boulevards.
“I can’t stress enough how dangerous this person is. There’s no question he’s desperate,” FBI Special Agent Mike Leverock said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon in front of Fort Lauderdale Police Department headquarters. “He has shown he is going to use violence.”
In an unusual move, the FBI was called in to assist after Fort Lauderdale and Hallandale Beach police and the Broward Sheriff’s Office gave initial chase. Leverock said his agency has jurisdiction because of federal carjacking statutes.
By early Tuesday evening, police had not released the names of the shooting victims. Both were taken to Memorial Regional Hospital, where the man was pronounced dead, and the woman remained in critical condition and was said to be undergoing surgery.
Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy confirmed that Moore and the woman were involved in a relationship. He said she worked at an insurance agency in Hallandale Beach, near where Moore gunned her and the man down.
Moore’s criminal history is extensive — and recent, Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show.
He was arrested by Lauderhill police Sunday for possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. No one could be reached Tuesday night to explain why he was out of jail.
Other charges date back to 1997, when as an 18-year-old Moore was charged with aggravated battery and burglary and sentenced to three years in prison. Four years later, in 2001, he received probation after being arrested for cocaine and marijuana possession.
FDLE records show he was arrested again in 2005, also for cocaine possession. A year later, he was charged with possessing a firearm after being convicted as a felon.
In 2010, Moore was charged with four counts of robbery with a firearm, took a plea deal and received a four-year sentence. He was released in February.
According to law enforcment, Moore’s crime binge Tuesday began on Sunrise Boulevard about 8a.m. That’s when he carjacked a Suzuki at gunpoint and ordered its driver and her son to drive to the I-95 on-ramp, where he ordered them out of the vehicle. Fort Lauderdale Police Detective DeAnna Greenlaw said Moore then fled south on I-95.
Ten minutes later, Moore ditched that vehicle and took control of a Chevrolet Silverado truck at Griffin Road and I-95, also flashing his weapon. He headed east, police said.
By 8:30 a.m., Moore was parked in front of the Riemer Insurance Group office at 217 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd., where police said the woman they think is his former girlfriend works. Moments later, she showed up in a car with another man. The FBI said that’s when Moore began firing into the vehicle, wounding both victims.
The man, according to witnesses, stumbled across the parking lot to Hallandale Medical Center. As the woman lay wounded in the vehicle, Moore opened the door, dragged her out and beat her, police said. Then he fled in the Silverado.
The red Chevrolet that the couple had arrived in remained surrounded by broken glass in the parking lot in front of the insurance office throughout the day Tuesday. A witness who identified himself as Rodney said he heard five gunshots at 8:37a.m., a pause, and then another shot.
“I knew it was gunshots right away. It was really loud,” he said.
Moore eventually ditched the Silverado near the entrance to I-95 at Hallandale Beach Boulevard and made two failed attempts to carjack other vehicles, the FBI said. His third try was successful. Again brandishing his weapon, Moore took control of a Mercedes-Benz that he drove north on I-95 to the Broward Boulevard off-ramp before crashing it, jumping out and taking off.
With the FBI’s task force closing down Broward Boulevard, police launched helicopters and set dogs on a search. On Tuesday night, Moore remained on the loose.
“The rain certainly didn’t help out in the search. The dogs did their best,” said Leverock, the FBI special agent.
Miami Herald Staff Writer Patrick Riley contributed to this report.