Axe-wielding man killed by police identified as Kenneth Robert Sprankle

5:39 PM, Sep 24, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, FL -- The 27-year-old axe-wielding man fatally shot by St. Pete Police has been identified as Kenneth Robert Sprankle.

Police describe Sprankle as a transient with a history of mental health issues. They say he's been Baker Acted by police at least seven times since March.

See also: Officer shoots man threatening people with axe

Police Spokesperson Mike Puetz's interviews with friends of Sprankle reveal he may have been smoking spice in Williams Park shortly before the shooting.

Sprankle was apparently chasing a group of people with an axe next the intersection of Central Avenue and 4th Street before an officer confronted him on Monday evening.

"The axe was raised in [Sprankle's] hand in a threatening manner and he was given multiple instructions to stop, drop the weapon, [but he] just continued advancing towards the officer to the point where [the officer] felt he had to take some action to protect himself," Puetz said.

Photos: Man seen on surveillance carrying axe

Turns out the axe belonged to the St. Petersburg Fire Department and it was stolen at the scene of a fire over the weekend.

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal review.

Sprankle is the sixth person fatally shot by St. Pete Police this year.

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