Friday, June 22, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg detective shoots, kills robbery suspect outside 7-Eleven

ST. PETERSBURG — The two robbers walked into the 7-Eleven about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

No one was inside the 24-hour store at Fourth Street and 62nd Avenue N except for two clerks.

The first robber, identified by police as 20-year-old Ebony C. Oliver, put a knife to one of the clerks' throat and ordered her to open the register. The second robber, identified as 36-year-old Lamont J. Burgess, stood nearby with a shotgun, they said.

Burgess and Oliver soon left out the front door with the cash they came for, authorities said.

An undercover police officer already had seen them. And minutes later, Burgess was dead.

Police said Burgess got into a confrontation with a second undercover officer who arrived as backup in the alley behind the convenience store.

"At some point, he leveled the gun at the detective," said St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz.

So the 33-year-old officer opened fire. Burgess died at the scene.

Oliver, who witnessed Burgess' death, ran and hid under a Jeep parked in a carport next to a nearby business, police said. A police dog found her and bit her. She was treated at a hospital. Her knife was found on the ground near the vehicle, police said.

Authorities charged Oliver with armed robbery and murder. Under Florida law, a person can be charged with murder if someone dies during the commission of certain felonies.

She was being held Tuesday in the Pinellas County Jail without bail.

Both Burgess and Oliver have lived in St. Petersburg, according to court records. But detectives think the pair may have been staying at a local motel together before the robbery. The relationship between the two was unclear.

Burgess' family declined comment. Oliver's family could not be reached. The clerks, a 57-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, did not return calls.

The detective who shot Burgess has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as is standard procedure.

Puetz said the detective has been involved with one other shooting during an eight-year career at the agency. Police are withholding the names of both officers and details of the previous shooting because of their undercover status.

They are part of the agency's Crime Analysis, Surveillance and Enforcement unit, called CASE.

Police said the unit was in the area tracking a pattern of unrelated commercial burglaries when the detective noticed the in-progress robbery at the 7-Eleven.

"This was totally unexpected," Puetz said.

The department is conducting a criminal investigation into the incident alongside an investigation into the detective's use of deadly force by the Internal Affairs Unit. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office is also investigating. These inquiries are standard whenever an officer kills a suspect on duty.

The corporate offices of 7-Eleven declined to comment on the incident.

Burgess has a criminal record dating to the late 1990s, mainly for drug possession and battery arrests, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Oliver's adult criminal record includes an arrest for criminal mischief and battery, although both charges were dropped. She also got in trouble as a juvenile, records indicate, including an aggravated battery arrest.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds and staff writer Marissa Lang contributed to this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643.

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