TAMPA — A video of a fatal police shooting last month, released Tuesday by the State Attorney's Office, shows two Tampa police officers flinching as they round a stairway in pursuit of a 16-year-old suspect, then simultaneously opening fire.
Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said the video, which is from an apartment surveillance camera, is consistent with statements by the officers that the teen, Javon Neal, was pointing a shotgun at them when they fired.
The two officers, Gregory Pryor, 36, and Shannon Murphy, 35, were wearing civilian clothes and bullet-proof vests when they responded to a 911 call on July 22 reporting a shot fired at Central Court Apartments, 2510 Central Ave.
Police said the officers found Neal at the scene. They said he began running up the outdoor staircase at the complex's south end.
As he ran, police said, the officers could see him pull something out of his pant leg. They told him to show his hands, but he didn't, police said.
When he reached the third floor, police said, Neal turned toward the officers and held the shotgun at chest level. Police said the officers ordered him to drop it and fired when he didn't. They said his weapon — a shotgun with a pistol grip — fell over the railing, landing on the ground below.
The video taken from the stairway is only a few seconds long and has no audio. It shows Neal going up the stairs with his right hand in his pocket. Seconds later, it shows the two officers come up the stairway, guns drawn. They suddenly jump back and fire several shots each. Neal cannot be seen at that point.
"What you see is both officers jerk back. They have a surprised expression on their face and both start shooting at the exact same moment," McElroy said. "That is the moment where he had turned away from them and pulled out the gun."
A subsequent investigation by the State Attorney's Office concluded that the shooting was justified.
John Barry can be reached at (813)-226-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.