NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – The search for a missing Coast Guardsman has ended after his body was discovered in a secluded location on station property.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Johnnie F. Walton, 37, of Edgewater, Florida died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Cmdr. James B. Rush, response department head for Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Florida.
Walton was last seen Wednesday morning while exercising with other members of Coast Guard Station Ponce Inlet. When Walton did not return from a run, members of the unit conducted a brief search of the area before contacting local police.
At approximately 8:45 p.m. Walton's body was found in a secluded location on the station property.
"We are truly heartbroken by this tragedy. This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved, and we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Petty Officer Walton's family, friends, shipmates and loved ones," said Cmdr. Rush.
The incident is under investigation.