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Largo police officer fatally shoots man

A Pinellas Sheriff’s Office forensic science specialist processes evidence outside Apartment 105 at Laguna Vista apartments in Largo where the shooting took place Thursday.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

A Pinellas Sheriff’s Office forensic science specialist processes evidence outside Apartment 105 at Laguna Vista apartments in Largo where the shooting took place Thursday.

LARGO — A Largo police officer shot and killed a man with a knife Thursday after they went to his apartment on a call about a domestic disturbance, authorities said.

Nicholas John Pesare, 18, was shot inside his apartment, No. 105 in Building N at the Laguna Vista apartments, 555 Belcher Road S, south of East Bay Drive.

Police received a call about 1:30 p.m. that Pesare was arguing with his mother, said Largo police Lt. Mike Loux. Pesare had been using narcotics and was threatening suicide, Loux said.

Three officers arrived at the complex of apartments at 1:35 p.m. Two were inside the apartment when Pesare "brandished a knife and assaulted them," Loux said.

One of the officers used a Taser on the man, but it had no any effect, Loux said. The other officer opened fire. Pesare died at the scene.

Neither officer was identified Thursday. Both will be placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, which is standard in officer-involved shootings, Loux said.

Pesare's mother, who was not identified by police, was not inside the apartment when her son was shot.

Neighbor Matthew Cremers, 18, said Pesare lived in the first-floor apartment with his mother and suffered from Asperger's syndrome, a disorder that makes communication with others difficult.

"He's a cool kid," said Cremers. "He's really cool. He does have a little bit of a temper."

Cremers said he had known Pesare about a year and believed he had moved to the complex from Rhode Island.

Neighbor Chuck Schumann, 53, who lives upstairs, said he often saw Pesare at the apartment complex's gym. He said Pesare and his mother were preparing to move back to Rhode Island soon. He said Pesare seemed happy about that.

Some neighbors said Pesare and his mother sometimes had screaming matches outside of their apartment, which faces a large pond. Loux said Largo police officers had visited the home before, but not frequently.

Neighbor Heather Quinn, 39, who lives in a nearby building and has a direct view of the apartment's front door, said she was outside her apartment having a cigarette when the three officers approached. She said she heard three gunshots.

The incident Thursday was the second time in two days a man was killed by a law enforcement officer in Pinellas County.

On Tuesday, three Pinellas County sheriff's deputies opened fire on a 73-year-old Ohio man who pointed a gun at them during a traffic stop.

Deputies had pulled the man over on Alderman Road after he barged into his ex-wife's Palm Harbor home with a gun.

Last week, Pinellas deputies shot and wounded a 28-year-old man accused of stalking an ex-girlfriend after he tried to wrest away a deputy's gun at a drugstore in Lealman.

Laguna Vista is a large complex on the east side of Belcher Road.

On Thursday afternoon, the building where the shooting occurred was roped off with crime scene tape, and a crowd had gathered to watch as police investigated.

Thursday's shooting happened 25 years to the day after a brutal murder in the same complex. On June 30, 1986, 38-year-old William Cosco was stabbed multiple times in an apartment in Building J. His body was discovered by friends three days later. His murder remained unsolved until 2004, when advanced fingerprinting techniques and databases provided a match to a man named Jeffrey Scott Payne. Officers discovered he had died in the early 1990s.

The complex was also the scene of a brutal rape in an apartment in Building I in December 1995.

Largo police officer fatally shoots man 06/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2011 1:18am]
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