Jackson County

One minute they were talking, the next minute a Gautier teen was dead

Johnathan Hoover
Johnathan Hoover

The 22-year-old who was arrested by Florida police Thursday night in the shooting death of former Coast resident Johnathan Hoover is being held without bond on a manslaughter charge.

Hoover, 19, was shot in the head early Thursday in the living room of a home in Niceville, Florida, according to police there. Hoover graduated from Gautier High in 2015, played the sax and piano and attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before moving to Niceville.

Police arrested Zachary Joseph Scott Maclean, 22, and charged him with negligent manslaughter, a second-degree felony. He originally was picked up by Niceville police on a probation violation.

According to the police report, the shooting happened about 3 a.m. Thursday in a mobile home. A witness said Maclean, known as “Kazz,” and Hoover were standing in the living room/kitchen area near the front door smoking “weed,” listening to music and talking right before the shooting.

The witness said Maclean just picked up a 9 mm pistol on a nearby counter, aimed it toward Hoover, pulled and released the slide and fired the gun at Hoover’s head.

The witness said he saw a flash of light and his ears started ringing. He turned away and was afraid, and when he turned back, he saw Hoover lying on the floor bleeding from his head.

The witness told police he looked at Maclean, who had a “shocked look” on his face while staring at the gun he was holding.

Maclean dropped the gun, according to the witness in the police report, and started packing items in a backpack, saying, “We have to get out of here.”

Maclean left either on foot or by bicycle, police said.

Police said the witness knew Maclean only as Kazz, but later picked him out of a photo lineup.

Another witness, in the bedroom at the time of the shooting, told police he ran into the living room and saw the man, later identified as Maclean, holding a gun with Hoover “dead on the floor.” He saw Maclean drop the gun and run.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement collected a 9 mm Ruger at the scene.

The gun used in the shooting was determined to have been stolen out of Okaloosa County. The theft also is being investigated, Niceville police spokesman Shawn Teets said.

Niceville is a city in Okaloosa County and is part of the Fort Walton Beach area.

The Pascagoula Oasis Church posted on its student Facebook page that Hoover was “a good kid.”

Hoover loved music, according to his Facebook page, and posted this of himself in December when he still lived in Gautier.