Police: Caller who caused Juno Beach Pier evacuation arrested on attempted murder charges

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A man taken into custody this afternoon on two attempted murder charges is likely the same person who called and said he had multiple weapons in a lifeguard stand on Juno Beach, according to police.

Thomas Higinbotham, 50, was arrested near Edgewater about 1 p.m. by the Port Orange Police Department. He is also charged with shooting into a Port Orange occupied dwelling, armed burglary and possession of a firearm while committing a felony, said Port Orange Police Department Public Information Officer Evan Doyle.

Higinbotham shot another man, Adam Wellman, at his home on Frederick Lake Drive just before midnight on Monday. Higinbotham found Wellman in a pool with Higinbotham’s estranged wife Kathryn Higinbotham, according to Port Orange police.

Higinbotham fired shots at the two, and chased Wellman as he continued shooting. Wellman ran through his house and out the front door to a neighbor’s house for help.

Higinbotham fled in a black Honda motorcycle, police said.

Wellman was struck in the arm. His injuries are not life-threatening, according to WESH News in Port Orange.

Higinbotham then used his cell phone to call an off-duty police officer in Volusia County. Higinbotham told the police officer he was going to take his own life. The police officer called 911.

Police continued to trace Higinbotham’as phone calls to Palm Beach County.

At about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Higinbotham again called 911. He said he had multiple weapons and was going to kill himself. Higinbotham said he was in a lifeguard stand, according to Juno Beach police Chief Brian Smith.

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Fishermen and spectators waited about 90 minutes to go back onto the Juno Beach Pier on Tuesday morning (Photo by Bill DiPaolo)

Juno Beach Police evacuated the fishermen and spectators on the Juno Beach Pier. Police told lifeguards, who had not yet occupied their stands on the beach, not to go to their stands. Access to the beach north of the pier was blocked.

Police searched the lifeguard stands and the beach. They did not find any suspects or any guns. The lifeguard stands and the beach were reopened about 9:15 a.m.

Higinbotham’s cell phone then showed he was headed north as he called from called Tequesta, Titusville and then Volusia County, said Smith.

“(Higinbotham) was desperate. He had just shot a man twice. He was driving around contemplating whether to kill himself or turn himself in. It was just our luck he came to Juno Beach,” said Smith.

Staff Writer Olivia Hitchcock contributed to this story.

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