St. Petersburg officer, led by GPS to stolen truck, shoots suspect

1:40 PM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Members of an apparent car theft ring were scrambling to run from police when one was shot after a confrontation with an officer.

That's what happened in front of a South St. Pete house right at sunrise Monday morning, according to St. Petersburg Police Department spokesman Bill Proffitt.

As two officers in marked patrol cars turned onto 11th Street S. off of 20th Avenue S., several people who had gathered in front of the house took off, Proffitt said.

In the yard was a pile of apparently stolen items that were being gathered at the house. Some people ran, while others jumped into cars and trucks. One man climbed into a silver Ford F-150 pickup.

Proffitt said investigators will take their time pinning down exactly happened next, but the man in the pickup appears to have had some sort of interaction or confrontation with the officer.

The officer then fired at the man in the truck. A neighbor told 10 News she heard four distinct gunshots. The right rear window of the extended-cab truck was shattered by the gunfire.

The suspect was hit and taken to the hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries, Proffitt said.

The officer was not hurt. He has not been identified, but Proffitt said he is relatively new to the force.

Police came to the neighborhood at about 7:15 a.m. Monday to search for a stolen vehicle, prompted by a call from someone in the northern end of the city who said his truck had been stolen overnight.

Inside that stolen truck was some sort of electronic device that allowed the victim to track the device using GPS. Proffitt said his information from detectives was still vague on exactly what the device is.

That GPS signal told the victim his device -- and presumably his truck -- were in the area of 11th St. S. and 20th Ave. S. Instead of chasing down the device himself, the victim called St. Pete Police, who stumbled upon the apparent auto theft ring.

Internal Affairs and the State Attorney's Office are both conducting investigations of the shooting, and the officer is on paid administrative leave during that process.

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