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“Spiraling Down For a While”: The Violent Story Before the Stand-Off With Fugitive Michael E. Moore

| January 28, 2019

Michael Eugene Moore during his stand-off with Flagler County Sheriff's deputies, left, then immediately after his arrest, right, and in his Flagler County jail mugshot at his booking late Saturday.

Michael Eugene Moore during his stand-off with Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies, left, then immediately after his arrest, right, and in his Flagler County jail mugshot at his booking late Saturday.

“This isn’t fair at all,” Mike Eugene Moore said from his car in a Facebook Live post to his wife as he took a drag on his cigarette, some three dozen cops arrayed around him and in the B-Section neighborhood of Palm Coast he’d paralyzed Saturday afternoon. The voice of a negotiator in the background urged him to surrender and get out of his car. He refused, idling instead in front of 97 Beaverdam Lane.

It was not his car, of course, but a Nissan Versa he’d allegedly robbed at gunpoint in Virginia.

“He had been spiraling down for a while since we were together,” his wife of nearly four years, Amanda Moore, said in an interview with FlaglerLive. “There’s nothing that really triggered him, I just think he’s self-destructive. He got very possessive and controlling during the relationship. I’d get a job, he didn’t like that I was working, that I had friends.” Last year he became “spiteful” and “vindictive,” stopping his bipolar medication and turning violent to the point that Amanda had to call police, get an injunction, install deadbolts on the door. He broke down her door.

On Jan. 19 at a business in Chesterfield County, a woman was actually helping Michael Moore when he turned on her, pulled out a gun, grabbed her, bound her wrists and ankles and duct-taped her mouth, according to Chesterfield County police, then stole her car. Amanda Moore doesn’t know why he decided to drive down to Florida, other than that it followed the same pattern of 23 years ago, after he stabbed his then-wife 33 times, abducted his then-5-year-old daughter, and ended up on America’s Most Wanted, the television reality show.

He was caught, he served 18 years in prison in Virginia, was released for good behavior in 2014, served two years’ probation, and promised that his life had been reformed, that he’d behave, that he’d steer clear of trouble. He didn’t. He married Amanda in 2015 (they have a three-year-old son), but trouble started early on. Though while he was in prison he’d stayed in contact with the daughter he’d abducted years before, once he married he lost contact with her and became ultra-possessive of Amanda. “I left him just about every single year,” she said. “He would make it almost impossible to live without any help, and he would be the only help I had left.”

Amanda was not surprised he ended up surrounded by cops. She thinks he was seeking to be in touch with her through Facebook as yet another means of controlling her, of forcing her to help, and of placing himself in a suicide-by-cop situation. But still, even through the stand-off, there were indications that he was not entirely in touch with reality.

“Why y’all got your machine guns trained on me?” he yelled out as he sat on Beaverdam Lane.

The deputies had a pretty good idea. As Moore spoke to the camera in his plaintive voice, invoking God, begging his wife or to look at his Facebook page, telling her that “none of the threats were real, I was never there, I was always gone far away,” complaining in turn that he didn’t want to die, didn’t have a job for a few months but had cut his hair “nice” just the way she likes, detectives were collating his actual profile, and it wasn’t “complicated,” as Facebook might have it, but brutal.

Initially, local detectives found there were five warrants out for Moore, 45, who carried with him a bogus driver’s license that made him out to be more than 20 years younger: vanity is one of his recurring character traits.

He had a warrant for armed robbery, for grand theft of a vehicle–the Nissan he was driving–for the abduction of the 30-year-old woman at the Virginia business, for using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and for possessing a gun as a felon.

Six additional warrants were added to his tally earlier this morning, all from Virginia: two for written threats, two for stalking, and two for assault and battery dating back to his alleged violence against Amanda: she described how at one point she was escaping to a women’s shelter because he wouldn’t leave her house, when he reached in and “yanks me by my neck” as the two wrestled. (He was not taking his medication at the time.) She says he threatened many more people than pressed charges, including her mother and co-workers.

Still, Moore went on Saturday, plaintively making himself out to be the victim in what would end up being a tense three-hour standoff with deputies on Beaverdam Lane. Sheriff Rick Staly had given the order to shoot if Moore made a run for any of the nearby houses and a k-9 couldn’t bring him down.

Earlier that afternoon a license-plate reader the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office just started using flagged the Nissan’s license plate on Palm Coast Parkway, sending deputies to find the car. Moore was cooperative enough to pull over, but nothing more, refusing from then on to exit his car–and starting his dual conversations, with a negotiator on one hand and with his Facebook feed on the other. As he spoke he dropped many hints as to why he was on the run: he’d threatened his ex, who had had an affair with a television reporter.

But he didn’t mean it. Really. “I was never going to hurt you, I had a million opportunities, I would have, I didn’t do it,” he said. “I’m not a bad person. I’m really not.”

That was a stretch, considering his history of stabbing and abduction–charges that have now been revived in Henrico County, Va., where he faces show-cause proceedings that could compound the severity of his penalty on more recent charges. He was aware of all that, including the revived proceedings in Henrico that were bringing back the specter of imprisonment.

“This is a nightmare. It’s not fair,” he said on his feed Saturday, just as a negotiator asked him if he had weapons in the car. “There is something in here, yes.”

The arrest documentation doesn’t specify how many and what type of weapons were in the vehicle, and a sheriff’s spokesperson this morning said that information was not yet available.

“They have not searched the vehicle yet, they have to work with Virginia since it’s their case,” the spokesperson said. The cursory inspection “indicated that there are likely items related to the robbery from Virginia in that vehicle.”

During the interview with Flagler detectives–they interviewed Moore at the Flagler Beach Police Department, having no interview rooms of their own since the Sheriff’s Operations Center was evacuated last June–Moore admitted to stealing the car, according to his arrest report. He did so the afternoon of Jan. 19 at a business in Chesterfield County, Va., tying up and duct-taping his victim.

Whatever he was doing, he’d always kept a copious Facebook page of his own, writing since early January of “this 3 week struggle in a living hell” and needing medical care. He pleads for his wife in post after post. She had pleaded with him to turn himself in during the stand-off Saturday, and this morning, she posted the following: “I’m proud to say I’m a domestic violence survivor. I get upset when people say I am stupid for staying as long as I did. No one knows how much it consumes every part of your life.”

“I just think he got cocky and just thought he could do whatever he wanted to do now that he didn’t have any supervision,” his wife said in the interview. He kept wanting to return to the bad, she said, as if it were a pull on him. “Prison made him a better criminal, it didn’t make him a better person.”

She added: “He is so detached from reality, he really believes he doesn’t have to suffer these consequences, he really lives in his head more.”

But she was grateful to the sheriff’s office in Flagler for bringing the stand-off to a peaceful conclusion. And for the Sheriff’s Office, it was yet another such resolution in a remarkable run of more than a half dozen such situations in the last several years that deputies controlled and ended without a shot fired, a life lost or even anyone hurt.

Aside from the 11 warrants for his arrest, Moore was arrested in Flagler on charges of resisting arrest and grand theft. He’s being held on no bond.

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