ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested the man they say shot and killed his girlfriend Tuesday morning in the doorway of her home at 1100 James Ave. S.
Joshua Thompson, 27, was taken into custody Tuesday night, accused of shooting Melinda Soria, 35, during a domestic violence incident, according to St. Petersburg police.
Gunshots were first reported at 8:25 a.m. Two hours later, the search Thompson focused on the blocks around 40th Avenue S and Eighth Street S.
A tactical team spent three hours searching the area, fearing the armed man was hiding. By 1 p.m. officers cleared the area and one house, but police said they continued their search and chased leads throughout the city.
Before apprehending Thompson, police assured the public that they did not believe Thompson, while armed, was a threat to anyone else.
"However, this is a man with a gun we know has already shot and killed one person," police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez said Tuesday afternoon. "So we have to take this very seriously and we want to do everything we can to get him off the street."
Fernandez said the area the tactical team searched was a "known hangout" of Thompson's. Police cruisers and an armored vehicle surrounded the block as police canvassed the neighborhood and warned neighbors that an armed man may be in the area.
Meanwhile, homicide detectives continued their investigation into Soria's death two miles away at the crime scene, the family home she shared with her mother. Police said three other people were home when the shots were fired that morning.
Crime tape blocked off much of the street as police interviewed Soria's family Tuesday morning. They could not be reached for comment. Neighbors looked on, shocked. They declined to identify themselves to a reporter, but said that Soria had lived with her mother in the green house on the corner for years. She often greeted her neighbors while walking her dog.
Officers ultimately found Thompson on the 4500 block of 19th Avenue S around 9 p.m. They took him in peacefully, police said. He faces a second-degree murder charge.
Thompson has 14 previous arrests in Pinellas County, jail records show, on charges that include drug possession, domestic battery and grand theft auto.