DESTIN — Christian Okorye Pickett could easily have been killed early Sunday morning when an Okaloosa County deputy confronted him about a shooting that had just taken place outside of the Bric a Brac nightclub.

  

Pickett was carrying a gun and refused to comply with “multiple commands” to drop it. And he actually turned towards the officer with it still in his hands, the arrest report said.

“At that point the deputy engaged him, firing rounds,” a news release issued Monday said.

“A security guard behind the deputy said he was in fear of Pickett’s movement and also fired in Pickett’s direction,” it said.

After the shots were fired, Pickett fled on foot, the news release said.

A short chase through parking lots and across U.S. Highway 98 concluded with Pickett in custody and the gun he’d been carrying located “in the path the suspect fled,” the report said.

As of Monday afternoon Pickett, of Shield Drive in Crestview, had not yet been charged with shooting Trevor Thomas, 29, of Crestview and Raheem Phillips, 24, of DeFuniak Springs. He is listed in reports as a suspect, though.

He is being held on local charges of improperly exhibiting a firearm and obstructing an officer. He also faces extradition to Covington County, Alabama, as a fugitive facing a charge of possessing a firearm with an altered ID.

Thomas was treated at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center for gunshot wounds to the left leg and abdomen. Phillips also suffered a gunshot wound.

The deputy who fired at Pickett, a supervisor with the rank of corporal, has been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation into the shooting incident is conducted, the news release said.

Pickett is or was employed as a professional football player for the Jacksonville Sharks of the National Arena League, according to his arrest report.

Pickett signed with the Sharks Nov. 21, 2018, for his third season of arena football. A defensive back, he had led the Columbus Lions during the 2018 season in team tackles and pass breakups, the Sharks website said.

Phillips also starred as a Walton County High School receiver and was listed on the 2017 roster at Warner University.

The shooting incident was the second to occur in the last month during the early morning hours in the vicinity of Bric a Brac, which is one of several Destin bars that stay open until 4 a.m.

Nightclub owner Fernando Petit said his business was closed when the shooting incident happened at about 4:18 a.m.

“I had actually just told my brother how nice the night had gone when somebody came and told us there was a problem outside and that the cops had already been called,” he said.

Bric a Brac, which provides Latin and hip hop entertainment for its late-night crowd, uses a metal detector at the entrance. Its bouncers conduct a “light” pat-down of patrons coming into the building, Petit said.

He said his security staff has thrown some people out for causing trouble, but he believes it is people who come into his parking lot and hang out who cause problems.

“We’ve had that kind of trouble before. The wrong crowd comes into the place,” he said. “They know they’re not allowed in so they come and hang around in their cars. It puts us in a bad position.”

The Sheriff’s Office has been called approximately 40 times since July 22, 2017, to Bric a Brac, call records show. Thirty-four of those calls were made after midnight.

Bric a Brac is located in a big shopping center with several vacant businesses, Petit said. The people who hang around outside in the early morning hours are “clearly the wrong crowd of people who I don’t want in my establishment.”

He said he and his brother have resolved to work with the city of Destin and the Sheriff’s Office to prevent incidents similar to Sunday’s from occurring.

“We don’t open again until Wednesday and when we do I expect there will be a lower number of customers, but things will calm down and business will pick back up,” he said. “We’ve taken a punch, but we just need to stay the course.”