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Arrest made in connection with St. Petersburg shooting death

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a man in connection with a shooting that left another man dead in the lobby of All Children's Hospital a week ago.

Timothy L. Johnson, 36, of Pinellas Park was booked Thursday into the Pinellas County Jail, charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Police say Johnson was involved in a shooting at about 10:45 a.m. on Oct. 22. Christopher Lamont Danford, 21, of 1517 25th Ave. S was killed.

The case has drug overtones, officials said, and investigators believe Danford was trying to rob Johnson.

St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt said authorities need to complete the investigation to decide whether further charges should be filed.

So far, he said, it appears Johnson was defending himself when he shot Danford: "We believe he was a victim of a robbery at this point. We believe that he acted in self-defense."

Danford was armed when he attempted to rob Johnson at 11th Avenue S and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, police said.

During the attempt, a passenger in Johnson's white Mercury Cougar got out and ran.

Danford and his friends, in a silver sport utility vehicle, left empty-handed.

Minutes later, as Johnson looked for his passenger, the SUV blocked him in on the 1300 block of 11th Avenue S.

"We do have a number of witnesses who saw Danford get out of the SUV, approach Johnson's car, and begin firing his weapon," Proffitt said.

Johnson fired back, likely with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, and drove away. He denied knowing any bullets struck Danford, and told police he found his passenger and left the area.

Ten minutes later, the SUV pulled up in front of All Children's Hospital. Danford stumbled out and made his way into the lobby, where he died.

Proffitt said detectives are still searching for the occupants of the SUV that dropped him off.

Arrest made in connection with St. Petersburg shooting death 10/29/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2009 10:54pm]
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