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Armed standoff outside St. Petersburg home ends peacefully

ST. PETERSBURG — An armed man threatening suicide outside a home Wednesday morning later surrendered peacefully to a SWAT team, police said.

The incident began about 6:30 a.m. when Jeffrey Douglas Simpson, 58, went to his older brother David's home at 526 Villa Grande Ave. S with a handgun, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz.

He started banging on the door and said he was going to kill himself. Family members refused to let Simpson inside and called police, Puetz said.

Simpson apparently fired a single gunshot into the ground, police said.

Officers evacuated the occupants out a rear door and summoned the SWAT team. Simpson remained out front as police negotiated with him.

He threatened to kill himself, Puetz said, and also tried goading the officers into shooting him. "He held (the gun) to his head on several occasions," Puetz said.

Simpson gave up about 8:45 a.m.

Puetz said Simpson, on probation for aggravated assault, has a history of mental health issues, according to his family.

Police arrested Simpson on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and violating probation. He was in Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday night on $60,000 bail.

Simpson told detectives he bought the gun, a .22-caliber Phoenix semiautomatic handgun, from a private seller in the Seminole area.

"He would not provide that person's name or any other information about the purchase," Puetz said.

Puetz said police will work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to try to determine who previously owned the gun.

An armed police officer surveys the scene Wednesday in St. Petersburg where an armed man had threatened to kill himself.

DIRK SHADD | Times

An armed police officer surveys the scene Wednesday in St. Petersburg where an armed man had threatened to kill himself.

Armed standoff outside St. Petersburg home ends peacefully 01/02/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 10:20pm]

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