TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tarpon Springs Police officer who was shot and killed early Sunday morning, was also run over by the suspect as he fled the murder scene, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri whose agency is investigating the murder.
Gualtieri released new details about the killing of officer Charles Kondek, 45, during a news conference on Sunday afternoon.
Kondek, who was a 17-year veteran of the Tarpon Springs Police Department, was killed while responding to a noise complaint at 2:03 a.m. at 199 Grand Blvd.
Kondek arrived at the scene and called for backup, “He saw something that made him feel uncomfortable,” said Gualtieri.
When Kondek arrived, suspect, Marco Antonio Parilla Jr., 23, was inside an apartment. Parilla, who has a lengthy criminal record and had an outstanding arrest warrant, left the apartment, went to the parking lot and saw officer Kondek standing near his car. Gualtieri says that’s when Parilla opened fire on the officer.
“This cop killer is unloading his gun,” said Gualtieri. “This cop killer felt like a caged rat,” he added.
Gualtieri said that at the moment Parilla saw Kondek, Parilla realized he was going back to prison and fired seven rounds at the officer.Kondek fired two rounds back, but was hit by one bullet, which killed him. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
Gualtieri said that after shooting officer Kondek, Parilla got into the car he had been driving, and ran over the officer as he left the shooting scene.
Kondek’s fellow officers arrived and tried to keep him alive by performing CPR, however, he was pronounced dead after arriving at Florida Hospital North.
Gualtieri said that Parilla also got into a shootout with a person who he knew in the same parking lot Sunday morning. “There was a firefight,” said Gualtieri, who said that a man fired five rounds at Parilla.
“They’re not what you would call fine upstanding citizens,” said Gualtieri.
The two shootouts made for a complicated crime investigation.
Parilla was arrested after a short chase which ended when he crashed the car he was driving in Tarpon Springs.
News Channel 8 was at the Pinellas County Jail when Parilla arrived. “I apologize to the family,” said Parilla. “That was not my intention.”
However, during the Sunday afternoon news conference, an angry Sheriff Gualtieri dismissed Parilla’s comment.
“It’s all a bunch of nonsense. He killed a cop and he needs to be held accountable,” said Gualtieri.
Florida Department of Corrections records show that Parilla has a criminal record that includes convictions for dealing cocaine and stolen property.
Tarpon Springs Police Chief Robert Kochen also spoke at the news conference. He praised Kondek, who went by the nickname “Charlie K” and leaves behind a wife and six children.
“He led a life of sacrifice and commitment, ultimately giving all,” he said.
“We grieve for the family, we grieve for the community…. We are really proud of him. He will truly be missed.”
The Tarpon Springs Police Department issued the following statement about the shooting:
With grieving hearts, the Tarpon Springs Police Department is saddened to announce the loss of Officer Charles Kondek. Ofc. Kondek served the City of Tarpon Springs as a sworn law enforcement officer for over 17 years, many of which were on the midnight shift. Originally from New York, he had previously served for over 5 years as a NYPD officer before moving to Florida.
Ofc. Kondek, who was 45 years of age, responded to a call for service shortly after 2:00 am on Dec. 21, 2014. While at the incident location, at 199 Grand Blvd., Ofc. Kondek was killed in the line of duty. TSPD officers and members of the Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue, who were summoned to assist, attended to Ofc. Kondek on-scene. He was transported to Florida Hospital North Pinellas, where he succumbed to his injuries.
A police cruiser parked outside the police department honors the fallen officer. Since word got out of his death, people have been coming out dropping off flowers and cards. The cruiser is outfitted with a large black band.
Also in front of the police department, there is a memorial to all of the department’s fallen officers. The last inscription on the plaque shows, the last officer to die in the line of duty was in November of 1969.
Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue is also paying tribute to the fallen officer. TSFR posted this message on their page Sunday morning:
“A Tarpon Springs Police Officer died in the line of duty yesterday. We are all family with our brothers&sisters in Blue and we are so very saddened. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tarpon Springs Police Department.”