Sunday, June 24, 2018
Public safety

Man shot by Tampa airport police identified as sex offender

TAMPA — The man shot by police Monday at Tampa International Airport before jumping to his death from a fourth-floor parking garage had recently registered as a sex offender.

Allen Piano, 46, of Palm Harbor registered after being sentenced to probation in August for providing obscene materials to a minor. The case against him stemmed from several incidents in 2010 in which Piano, who then lived in Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County, showed computer pornography to several young girls.

He apparently moved in with his father and stepmother in Palm Harbor recently and was restricted from traveling outside Pinellas County, officials said.

Piano was shot Monday afternoon when he lunged at police Officer Jason Virt on the fourth floor of the airport's long-term parking garage, authorities said.

Airport officials said Virt approached Piano about 4:30 p.m. on the eighth floor of the short-term parking garage.

Piano said he was watching planes. A background check revealed he was a sex offender for whom Pinellas officials were about to issue an arrest warrant, according to his probation officer. A visit to the airport would have violated the conditions of his probation, Department of Corrections officials said.

The probation officer also said a shotgun was missing from the Palm Harbor home of Piano's stepmother.

About 5 p.m., Virt found Piano sitting in his car with a gun in his mouth on the fourth floor of the long-term parking garage. The officer ordered him to put down the gun. Piano got out of his car and lunged at Virt, who fired at him, officials said. Piano then jumped from the parking garage.

Piano was shot once, according to the Hillsborough Medical Examiner's Office, but the fall killed him.

Virt, who has worked an airport police officer since 2010, is on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

Records show that Piano was sentenced Aug. 27 to five years of probation stemming from six counts of providing obscene materials to a minor.

The charges came after four girls, between ages 8 and 12, told police that Piano had showed them pornographic pictures and videos. One girl also told authorities that Piano had turned on music and asked them to dance for him in their undergarments.

During questioning, Piano admitted to the accusations.

He registered his address, at 3172 Cypress Green Drive in Palm Harbor, with the Department of Corrections and the state sex offender registry on Oct. 11.

Flo Piano, who lives at the address, said she was Allen Piano's stepmother. She declined to comment much on his life, but noted that his father, Al Piano, died Oct. 19.

"I hardly knew the kid," she said.

Times news researcher John Martin and information from the Stuart News-Port St. Lucie News contributed to this report. Dan Sullivan can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or [email protected]

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