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Man collected gas canisters to create fiery ‘kill zone’ along Florida road, police say

A “talkative” 65-year-old burglary suspect told officers he was creating a “kill zone” when they interrupted him, according to Florida’s Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

The plan called for the use of fire to trap people in their cars so they could be killed, an affidavit says.

Gary Brannon was arrested Aug. 12 while searching for gas canisters on someone’s property north of Gainesville, officials said. Gainesville is about 70 miles southwest of Jacksonville.

Brannon told deputies his intended targets were people he suspected of abusing his 92-year-old aunt, including a caretaker, officials said.

His plan came to a halt when officers were alerted to an “armed disturbance” in which a suspected burglar stood outside a home and fired shots into the air, officials said.

That man was identified as Brannon and he was found with a stolen gun in his vehicle, officials said.

“Brannon was very talkative when we interacted with him and kept talking to him for a while. In fact, Gary never stopped talking even when he wasn’t spoken to,” deputies said in the affidavit.

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Investigators found that Brannon was convinced his aunt was being abused by neighbors and being drugged by a caretaker, and that his “kill zone” was focused on retaliation.

“Gary defined the ‘kill zone’ as a trap he would create by chopping down trees in the roadway, some in front of the target and some behind the target. This would immobilize vehicles so that he could then ignite the vehicle and any persons in it to kill them,” the affidavit reads.

“While we spoke to Gary, he said he had done this to one of the four Subarus on the victim’s property.”

A search of Brannon’s car turned up matches and a chainsaw, officials said.

He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed burglary of an occupied residence and firing a firearm into residences, officials said.

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