Thursday, November 23, 2017
Public safety

St. Petersburg police shoot man they say threatened with scissors

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ST. PETERSBURG — Police shot and killed a man Sunday evening they say was suicidal and threatening two officers with a pair of scissors.

The man, identified by police as Arthur Dixon, 43, of 5411 Fourth Ave. N was shot in the upper torso. He was transported as a trauma alert patient to Bayfront Medical Center, where he later died.

His mother, who was temporarily staying at his house, called authorities about 6:10 p.m. to say Dixon had doused himself with gasoline and was threatening to set himself afire.

A neighbor, Ray Wuest, saw firefighters arrive and went to help. He said he has known Dixon more than a decade and — unlike firefighters at the scene — was not intimidated by a pit bull named Chico in the window.

Wuest said he went inside to try to talk to Dixon.

Dixon sat at the kitchen table, he said, with gas spilled all around and on him, smoking a cigarette.

Wuest said he took the cigarette, then went outside to ask firefighters whether they had something to mop up the gas. He said he went back in to clean it up. After he did, the police arrived and insisted he leave.

St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said officers negotiated for more than an hour with Dixon. But he was "belligerent and threatening," a police statement said.

About 7:30 p.m., Dixon ran out the back of the house where Officers Devin Jones and Curtis Wright were stationed.

Dixon held a pair of scissors and raised them in a threatening manner as he approached the officers, Puetz said.

The two officers drew their guns and warned him several times to stop, Puetz said, and retreated backward. Still, Dixon kept approaching.

Both officers fired. Puetz said he did not know how many shots were fired. Dixon was struck in the upper torso and fell.

"Scissors are a deadly weapon," Puetz said. "They can cause great harm. They can be just as dangerous as a knife."

Both officers are on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

Wuest said Dixon is a former landscaper who suffered a brain injury some time ago and became disabled. He has two children, one in college and one in high school, Wuest said, who do not live with him.

Ray Wuest and his wife, Mary Wuest, said they could have ended it all peacefully if only given the chance.

"If they would have left us alone with him, we could have gotten him out of the house," Mary Wuest said.

State records show that Dixon was convicted in 2011 of robbery with a weapon and resisting an officer with violence.

He was released from state prison Feb. 17.

News researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

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