Man accused of murder in Panama City Beach shooting had prior assault conviction in Louisville

According to district and circuit court records, Christopher Cox pleaded guilty to assaulting his mother in 2017.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Christopher Cox, the man facing a murder charge after police said he shot two Louisville stepbrothers in Panama City Beach, had previously been convicted of assault in Louisville.

Panama City Beach Police arrested the 37-year-old after finding two teenage boys, also from Louisville, shot several times. One of the boys was found dead at the scene. The other was taken to the hospital and has since been discharged, the boy’s mother told WHAS11 Tuesday evening.

According to his arrest citation, police found Cox near the scene with blood on his pants. Cox told officers “one of the boys grabbed his bag and he felt as though they were trying to steal from him.”

Cox told police he took the gun out of the bag and shot the boys several times. Both boys were 14 and on vacation with their family.

Police reported that Cox, who now lives in Panama City Beach, was “coincidentally” from Louisville as well. According to district and circuit court records, Cox pleaded guilty to assaulting his mother in the Crescent Hill neighborhood in 2017.

According to the case files, his mother told police she had received a message from a neighbor that “her son was acting ‘odd’ in the front yard.” When she returned home, she found that he had painted their driveway, which they shared with a neighbor. When she asked why he had done so, he reportedly told her it was because the neighbor was not “respecting their side.”

Cox’s mother told police she then told Cox to clean up the paint, which angered him. She said he then pushed her down and she hit her head on the corner of a table, which cut the area above her right eyebrow.

According to the report, Cox “then began to strike and kick” her “multiple times as she lay on the ground.” Cox’s mother was taken to the hospital and police arrested Cox.

Officers searched the home after the incident and found “multiple empty bottles of alcohol” and “an amount of marijuana.” Police also found several handguns with ammunition, but did not remove any of the weapons from the home.

Cox was charged with assault in the second degree, intimidating a participant in the legal process, illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal possession of a controlled substance.

After pleading guilty to domestic assault, a misdemeanor, Cox was ordered to serve 12 months, and was conditionally discharged after two years. He was also ordered to receive mental health treatment.

In a letter sent to families, Marion C. Moore School Principal Traci Hunt acknowledged the two victims were both students at Moore. She said the boy who had died had been a former student and the other boy was a current student.

“I continue to ask myself ‘why’ and ‘why us,'” Hunt said. “Why does this keep happening to our Mustang Family? While I cannot answer that question for you, I can say that I know that we are right where we need to be, together through it all. Despite this horrible news, I hope that you do find some solace in the idea of us all being back together very soon and trying to create some sense of normalcy.”

Cox made his first court appearance in this case Wednesday. His bond was denied.

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