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Amateur MMA Fighter Accused Of Killing U.S. Airman With Punch To Head Outside Florida Bar

Panama City Beach, FL – An amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter is behind bars on a manslaughter charge after he allegedly killed a U.S. airman with a punch to the head during a bar fight on Sunday night.

The deadly incident occurred on April 9 at the Coyote Ugly Saloon located in the 10500-block of Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach, WMBB reported.

Panama City Beach Police Department (PCBPD) investigators said 31-year-old U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Dayvon Larry was inside the bar when a couple of fights broke out on Sunday night, according to NBC News.

Police said Larry did not participate in the brawls, but that he may have been associated with someone who was involved in an argument prior to the physical altercations.

Larry was outside the saloon in the parking lot when one of the fights erupted, WMBB reported.

A friend of 23-year-old MMA fighter Ross Allen Johnson was involved in the brawl, so Johnson went running into the fray.

But as he was running towards the fight, Johnson suddenly punched Larry in the head, hitting him behind his ear, according to police.

Larry was knocked out cold by the blow and collapsed in the parking lot, WMBB reported.

Police said Johnson did not attempt to help Larry and did not notify anyone that he was unconscious.

Johnson instead proceeded to jump into the fight involving his friend and got into a skirmish with another individual, investigators said.

Security guards broke up the fight and located Larry lying on the pavement, NBC News reported.

The injured airman was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators said Larry died from blunt force trauma to the head, WMBB reported.

His autopsy revealed he suffered a skull fracture and that he had a bruise the size of a softball behind his left ear.

Johnson allegedly fled the area after the security guards intervened and he subsequently tried to hide from police in a hotel room, WMBB reported.

Investigators identified him using security footage and were able to track him down on Monday, according to The Birmingham News.

After he was taken into custody, Johnson allegedly gave investigators multiple accounts of what occurred, WMBB reported.

He initially told them he only pushed Larry, according to police.

Investigators said they discovered a Snapchat message from Johnson to a woman in which he wrote, “Dude is still not moving,” WMBB reported.

He also allegedly spoke to a witness about the incident.

“Man, I hit that guy,” he told the person, according to police. “I laid him out, and I think I killed him.”

Police said Johnson ultimately confessed, NBC News reported.

He has been charged with manslaughter and is being held at the Bay County Jail.

Investigators said Johnson has three years of “advanced fighter training” and an MMA record of five wins and two losses, WMBB reported.

Tyndall Air Force Base officials confirmed the airman’s death in a statement to WMBB on Tuesday, although they did not specifically name Larry.

“This is a devastating loss for team Tyndall our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow airmen during this tough time,” the base said.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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