In the moments leading up to his death, Brett Lee Curtis called 911 several times - warning that if an officer didn't "get off his back," people would get hurt.
The only one who ended up hurt was Curtis himself.
It was the heroic actions of that Daytona-area officer that ensured Curtis' ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Rae Hamilton, returned home to Lakeland safely, the sheriff's office said.
The same could not be said for Curtis, who in the early morning hours eventually turned the gun on himself along I-95 near Titusville.
That was after calling 911 several times as the officer chased him.
"I am a man from Lakeland, and I have kidnapped my ex-fiancée," Curtis said in one 911 recording, which was released by the sheriff's office. "If this officer continues to follow me, I will kill him."
"That is your final warning," he continued.
Several gunshots can be heard over the calls. As the officer refused to back down, Curtis gets angry.
"I have enough ammunition to kill her and myself. Don't f------ play with me," he said. "Get them off my back now."
At one point, Curtis forced Hamilton to call.
"They keep following him, and he's threatening to kill me," a frantic Hamilton told the 911 operator.
Hamilton said Curtis had two guns and was "taking her home."
A few miles later, near mile marker 225 in Brevard County, police used "stop sticks" to disable Curtis' vehicle. That's when Hamilton escaped and Curtis took his own life.
Authorities said the whole ordeal began at the Lakeland Square Mall where Curtis abducted Hamilton; the 26-year-old works at a massage parlor at the mall and wasn't there when her mother, who reported her missing, stopped by to pick her up.
An officer near Daytona spotted the Nissan Altima they were in Tuesday morning from a statewide "be on the lookout" alert. The vehicle had been captured on surveillance video at the mall.
"The officer without a doubt clearly, probably saved this person's life," Lt. Mike Scully said. "They were very heroic actions on that officer's part, and certainly should be commended for their actions."
Police said Curtis and Hamilton, who he called his "ex-fiancee," had a rocky relationship. A judge had recently issued a temporary restraining order against him. They were both due in court for a hearing Tuesday during which Hamilton planned to ask for a permanent restraining order.
The victim's Facebook page gives more insight into their troubles. In a post from August, Hamilton said her "ex" had hacked into her account and deleted some photographs. She called him "evil."
Curtis, meanwhile, lived in a mobile home park in Lakeland, where neighbors said he operated a taxi cab, often shuttling around folks who lived nearby.
"I was devastated, the last person I expect," said Sandra Wise, who has ridden in his taxi. "He's the nicest person. He went out of his way to say, 'how are you?' and wave when he goes by in the morning. When I heard this I was amazed it even happened."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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