By: Garin Flowers
June 11, 2013
A Jacksonville man is behind bars after authorities say he traveled more than 100 miles to stalk a woman he met online in the Big Bend area.
Madison County Sheriff's deputies got a call that Eric Kirkland, 36, was riding around in a truck shooting off rounds from a rifle.
Deputies say Kirkland took off when they responded, adding that he avoided spike strips that were thrown out.
He eventually pulled over and was taken into custody.
We spoke to Meg Baldwin, an advocate helping victims of domestic violence.
"If you have any concern about the tenor, the tone of the communication, any information that the person intends to contact you or come closer to you without your consent or request, reach out for help right away," said Baldwin
Deputies found an A-R 10 Assault Rifle when they arrested Kirkland.
They say there were dozens of bullet shells near the woman's residence, but her home wasn't hit.
Kirkland now faces several charges, including aggravated stalking and fleeing and eluding.
Press Release: Madison County Sheriff's Office
Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart reports that on Saturday night June 1, 2013 at 11:30 pm Deputies were dispatched to the area of Mango East of Lee on US 90 to investigate a complaint of a person riding around the area in a truck shooting several rounds from a rifle.
Cpl. Mike Maurice along with Sgt. Dennis Pitts responded to Mango.
As Cpl. Maurice was traveling down Mango he passed a Dodge Dakota truck headed toward US 90. Cpl. Maurice turned around to make contact with the truck however the driver later identified as Eric Duane Kirkland of Jacksonville, FL sped off at a high rate of speed.
Cpl. Maurice initiated pursuit and informed Sgt. Pitts that the Dodge was headed toward US 90. Sgt. Pitts deployed spike strips in attempt to terminate the pursuit but was unsuccessful as Kirkland was able to avoid the spikes.
Once the pursuit reached US 90, Kirkland turned West and continued to flee at more than 100 miles per hour. The pursuit entered the Town of Lee and Kirkland turned South onto CR 255 toward Interstate 10. Other responding Deputies were approaching the pursuit when Kirkland decided to pull over.
Deputies conducted a felony takedown and Kirkland was arrested without further incident. A search of the truck located an AR 10 .308 caliber Assault Rifle on the front seat next to where Kirkland had been sitting. The rifle was fully loaded and chambered with the safety off. Several extra rounds of ammunition were also recovered.
During further investigation it was learned that Kirkland had met a female via the internet who lived in the area of Mango. Kirkland admitted that he drove from Jacksonville to “terrorize” the female.
Deputies identified the female and located more than 30 spent .308 rounds in the dirt road near her residence. It did not appear that the home was struck by any bullets.
Arrested and charged: Eric Duane Kirkland, W/M, DOB: 10/07/1976 of Jacksonville Florida
1. Aggravated Stalking
2. Fleeing and Elude
3. Use of Firearm during Commission of a Felony
4. Possession of Marijuana less 20 grams
5. Possession of Drug Paraphernalia