Officers shoot and kill drunk man armed with scissors

1:27 PM, Mar 11, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Two St. Pete Police officers are on administrative leave after shooting and killing a man they say was threatening them with a pair of scissors.

A woman called St. Petersburg Police just after 6 p.m. Sunday and told dispatchers her son, Arthur Dixon, Jr., was threatening suicide.

Before police arrived, a friend and neighbor of Dixon's tried to handle the situation.

That friend, Ray Wuest, described what he saw when he walked into Dixon's kitchen: 

"[Dixon] has a cigarette in his hands, and it's lit -- and he's sitting in the middle of a puddle of gas! So I took the cigarette out of his hand, got that out of the house, and I took the lighter out of his hand so he couldn't ignite the gas."

As police surrounded the place, Wuest said he knew that if he could go back inside, he would be able to talk Dixon out with no one hurt.

"I was out there with the cops and I asked them, I said, 'Why don't you let me in there?' I said, 'I almost had him coming out once. I know I can get him out with no violence,'" Wuest said.

"They were getting ready to have me put a vest on to go in and that's when I heard the three shots."

Police say Dixon had sprinted out the back door and raised a pair of scissors at two officers stationed there.

They backed up, and repeatedly told him to stop, but police say Dixon kept coming. So they fired.

Dixon's mother was devastated and frustrated.

"The police assured me that they weren't going to hurt him. That they were concerned for his safety," she said.

"He's never hurt anyone, ever. So, they forced him out the back of the house and they shot him three times. I want to know why they shot him. He had no weapons. Why?"

"And he's drunk! He has a traumatic brain injury. He's blind in one eye -- can't see well out of the other. Why did they shoot him?"

A St. Petersburg Police spokesman at the scene said officers had to treat the scissors like any knife, and couldn't risk tackling Dixon.

Tasers were also not an option, he said, because of the danger posed to everyone by setting off sparks with gasoline so nearby.

Dixon, 43, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he later died.

Officers Devin Jones and Curtis Wright have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Investigative Services Bureau and Internal Affairs Unit of the St. Petersburg Police Department, as well the Pinellas/Pasco State Attorney's Office.

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