Sunday, June 17, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg police identify man killed in parking lot shootout

ST. PETERSBURG — A man shot to death by police in a parking lot late Thursday had a history of violent crime and substance abuse, police said.

Jason Michael Kerr, 31, was acting erratically and looking nervous inside Hungry Baba's restaurant on Martin Luther King Jr. Street, police said. He was sweating so much one employee handed him a towel.

Employees called police when they saw Kerr waving a gun as he talked to people in the store's parking lot.

Kerr started to drive away in a white Dodge Caravan but officers pulled him over in the Snax convenience store parking lot across the street, police said. From the seat of his van, Kerr pulled out a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and fired at least three times at police, the bullets hitting between two marked cruisers, police said.

Police fired back, killing Kerr, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt. No officers were injured.

"I thought it was fireworks," said Mohammed Azi, a cashier at Snax. Azi, 18, hit the floor of the convenience store when he realized it was gunfire.

Pinellas County records show Kerr has a criminal history stretching back to 1996, when he was 14. As an adult, Kerr was charged with a series of crimes, including home invasion robbery, aggravated assault with a weapon and trafficking and possessing illegal drugs. He served one year in prison on drug charges and another three years on separate drug-related charges, Florida Department of Corrections records show.

In late July, he was sentenced to an anger management class after a charge of domestic battery. He had at least two small children, Pinellas County records show.

Police said Friday it was too soon to determine what caused Kerr to shoot at police.

Four officers involved in the shooting, Matthew Laliberte, 28, Scott Kirpan, 31, Mark Kruzell, 30, and Matthew Stringfellow, 27, were placed on administrative leave while the incident is under investigation, standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting.

A police spokesman said none of the men were involved in recent police-involved shootings.

The case marked the seventh time this year St. Petersburg police have shot and killed a criminal suspect, including three separate incidents last month. In 2012, there was only one fatal shooting.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Claire Wiseman can be reached at (727) 893-8804 or [email protected]. On Twitter: @clairelwiseman.

     
 
Comments
Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

NEW PORT RICHEY — A motorcyclist and pedestrian both died in a crash Saturday night near Palmetto Road and U.S. 19, police reported.About 10:30 p.m., a St. Petersburg man, 41, was riding a 2012 Honda motorcycle north on the highway, according to the ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

TRENTON, N.J — Shooting broke out at an all-night art festival in Trenton, New Jersey, early Sunday, sending people stampeding from the scene and leaving one suspect dead and 20 people injured, a local prosecutor said. Many of the 20 injured were tre...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market will be closed throughout the weekend after a warehouse fire broke out Friday.A St. Petersburg Police officer noticed smoke coming from the market at 22nd Ave. N around midnight Friday, said St. Petersburg F...
Published: 06/16/18
A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

TAMPA — Loueita Hargens had known for years how her son Bradley Dykes would die. She had seen him cycle through drugs of choice, had lost track of the number of times he’d wound up in the hospital or prison.A recovering alcoholic herself, she cut him...
Published: 06/16/18
Deputies: Body found in Pasco lake is New Port Richey man, 74

Deputies: Body found in Pasco lake is New Port Richey man, 74

Deputies identified a body found in Frierson Lakes in Hudson on Thursday as a 74-year-old New Port Richey man.Kress Luebke’s kayak was seen overturned in the water on Thursday night, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.A resident living along Fri...
Updated: 4 hours ago
St. Petersburg police make arrest 31 years after sexual assault

St. Petersburg police make arrest 31 years after sexual assault

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a man Friday in connection with a 31-year-old sexual assault case and believe he’s connected to other unsolved cases from decades ago.Anthony Stokes, 56, faces a charge of armed sexual battery, according to St. Peters...
Published: 06/15/18
Records detail Wrigley heir’s $480,000 betrayal by trusted employees

Records detail Wrigley heir’s $480,000 betrayal by trusted employees

ODESSA — One day in the summer of 2014, Helen Rich spotted a Facebook post about an aging black Labrador in Kansas named Lady who badly needed a new home. The author and heir to the Wrigley gum fortune had recently lost her own Black lab. Rich decide...
Published: 06/15/18
Hillsborough Hispanic women targeted in lottery scam

Hillsborough Hispanic women targeted in lottery scam

TAMPA — Maria Pena-Lebron, 83, was walking out of Fresco y Mas with her groceries in May when she was approached by a woman wearing a straw hat, who pleaded with her for help. The stranger claimed to be an undocumented immigrant and therefore unable ...
Published: 06/15/18
Tampa fire captain demoted for stripping off shirt, daring homeless man to fight

Tampa fire captain demoted for stripping off shirt, daring homeless man to fight

TAMPA — Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Jeremy Finney was, by all accounts, a model firefighter — until he lost his cool. The outburst cost him two ranks.Finney has served nearly 16 years in the department and was a member of the Tactical Medical Response Te...
Published: 06/15/18
Coaster that derailed in Daytona Beach had reported safety issues in 2017

Coaster that derailed in Daytona Beach had reported safety issues in 2017

DAYTONA BEACH — Two roller coaster riders fell 34 feet (10 meters) when their car derailed and was left dangling from the track, and firefighters used ladders to pull eight others to safety high above the Daytona Beach Boardwalk. "The front car which...
Published: 06/15/18