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Pinellas deputy and St. Petersburg officer in shootings on 15th Avenue S

ST. PETERSBURG — Wednesday started with gunfire on one end of 15th Avenue S and ended with gunfire on the other end.

Both shootings involved law enforcement officers.

In the first shooting, which occurred just after 8 a.m., a woman was accidentally shot by a Pinellas sheriff's deputy at 15th Avenue S and 36th Street S. Sheriff's officials said the shooting occurred as their narcotics detectives conducted a drug raid within the city limits.

Later that day, a St. Petersburg police officer chasing a suspect was dragged up to 200 yards by a car. The officer managed to draw his weapon and fire it inside the speeding auto.

Minutes later, officers found the injured policeman lying in the middle of the street.

Two men with gunshot wounds were found near the car, which was parked a few blocks away. A female driver escaped, and police were still searching for her late Wednesday.

No one wounded in Wednesday's incidents — neither the officer who was dragged nor the three people hit by police gunfire — suffered life-threatening injuries.

• • •

Early Wednesday, Pinellas narcotics detectives came to the city armed with two search warrants.

At 7:40 a.m., they raided a home at 3611 2nd Avenue S, where they arrested Lewis Pratt, 34, on drug charges. Sheriff's officials said they seized marijuana, crack cocaine and at least one firearm.

The same investigation led deputies to Childs Park at 8:05 a.m. Deputies said they broke down the door at 3655 1/2 15th Avenue S and charged inside. Leading the way was a detective with a .45-caliber Glock pistol.

But the pistol accidentally fired, sheriff's officials said, striking 45-year-old Brenda McKay in the right inner thigh as she lay on a couch in the living room.

A medic treated her and she was taken to Bayfront Medical Center. She was not arrested.

The agency won't release the detective's name because he works undercover. He was placed on paid leave while an internal investigation is ongoing.

No one was arrested during the second raid.

• • •

About six hours later, St. Petersburg officers were sent to Bartlett Park to investigate a battery complaint.

A woman said a male acquaintance choked and hit her. Officer Robert Lord found the suspect, Gregory D. Brinson, near the 700 block of 15th Avenue S and confronted him.

Brinson ran into a back yard. Lord chased him and the two brawled, police said. The officer used his Taser on Brinson, who managed to escape back to the street, police said, and dove into a waiting car, a maroon 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass. A woman was driving. Adam K. Burns sat in the rear passenger seat.

The officer wasn't far behind Brinson when he got into the car, which by this point was moving.

One neighbor told police it appeared that Brinson dragged the officer toward the car. Police said Lord used pepper spray on Brinson, but to no effect.

Police don't know whether the officer held onto the Oldsmobile or was dragged alongside the fleeing vehicle. He was dragged all the way to Seventh Street S.

"I could see the officer's legs dragging out the back door," said resident Lillian Harris, 76.

The officer somehow managed to fire his .40-caliber Glock several times, police said, hitting Burns and Brinson in the feet.

Lord's fellow officers found him lying in the street, conscious. Shell casings and a shoe lay on the road.

Minutes later, the two bleeding men were found near the vehicle at an apartment complex at 430 13th Avenue S.

Brinson, 19, was arrested on a charge of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. Burns, 29, was charged as an accessory to attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. Both underwent surgery late Wednesday.

The injured officer, Lord, 30, was released from a hospital late Wednesday. He is now on paid leave while the department investigates the shooting.

Pinellas deputy and St. Petersburg officer in shootings on 15th Avenue S 03/11/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 12, 2009 9:39am]
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