ST. PETERSBURG — The armed fugitive who federal authorities said was shot and killed while resisting arrest Thursday was identified as 39-year-old William Jimmy Page Jr.
The Alabama man was indicted there in 2010 on a charge of "enticing a minor for the purpose of sexual activity.'' Page was accused of contacting someone he believed to be a 13-year-old boy, according to federal records, and offering marijuana and beer in exchange for sex.
But his phone calls and online chats were actually being answered by an undercover officer. After his arrest, Page was freed in lieu of $100,000 bail but was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device.
He was allowed to live in Metter, Ga., with relatives. But the U.S. Marshals Service said that two months ago Page cut the GPS device off his ankle and disappeared, leaving behind a 14-page suicide letter.
Then on Thursday, a fugitive task force of deputy U.S. marshals and local police attempted to arrest Page, who they said was hiding in a garage apartment at 3438 N Queen St.
There, U.S. Marshals said in a prepared statement: "Page displayed a handgun and law enforcement officers fired their weapons, resulting in Page's death." Two deputy U.S. marshals and a Tampa police officer fired their weapons, according to the agency.
However, the Birmingham News quoted a deputy U.S. marshal from northern Alabama who said that Page fired at the officers. In Tampa, Deputy U.S. Marshal Ron Lindbak said he could not confirm or deny that account because the shooting is under investigation.
"I heard both of those two versions, too, but I don't know which one is true," said the fugitive's father, William Jimmy Page Sr., on Friday from his home in Georgia. "I hope to find out."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is reviewing the shooting, as it typically does in such cases.
Pete Cajigal, an assistant chief for the U.S. Marshals Service, said a deputy U.S. marshal was cut by glass in the incident.
William Page Sr., 68, said his family is heartbroken.
He said his son was a career-driven entrepreneur who was voted "the next Donald Trump," by his high school classmates. He had his own business designing websites for real estate agents.
"He was very smart, very intelligent," his father said. "He was one of the finest sons a man could expect to have."
He said Page, the oldest of two sons, had never been in trouble before his December arrest. He said his son had become depressed while awaiting trial and didn't want to go to prison.
Page's family doesn't know why he fled to Florida or how he ended up in St. Petersburg. Federal officials also have not said what brought him here.
"He told everyone goodbye," the father said. "He felt like he would never see us again."
Times researchers Natalie Watson and Caryn Baird and staff writer Ileana Morales contributed to this story.