PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies shot and killed a 43-year-old man Wednesday around 5:28 p.m.
Deputies responded to the Duval Park apartment complex. A woman and two children, ages 10 and 12, were in the residence trying to escape, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. The children managed to get to a neighbor’s residence, and 911 was called.
The suspect’s girlfriend told deputies he would not cooperate with them, officials said. After deputies knocked on the door, the suspect eventually opened it, holding a large knife in his raised left hand, according to the sheriff’s office. He approached deputies holding that knife, officials said.
The suspect allegedly said to deputies, “You are going to have to kill me.”
Officials said the deputies pulled their firearms and told the suspect to drop the knife. He did not, and deputies fired several rounds. The suspect was within seven to 10 feet of one of the deputies when shots were fired, officials said.
“The deputies did what they had to do,” Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Major David Danzig said. “Those are split-second decisions for the deputies, and when someone’s approaching you with a large knife – and when they have it up raised like this – I don’t know any other protocols besides to meet that force.”
The suspect was pronounced dead at 5:51 p.m. Neither deputy sustained injuries.
Investigators have not released the suspect’s name at this time. The suspect’s girlfriend had scrapes on her neck.
Neighbor Al Sanders talked with News Channel 8. “I saw them shoot him,” Sanders said. “But he just didn’t stop drinking. He didn’t stop doing the wrong thing and that doesn’t promote rational thought.”
“You don’t come after a police officer armed,” Sanders added. “I don’t care how messed up you are. I mean, you know, they did the right thing.”