Sunday, April 22, 2018
Public safety

Suspect dies after shoot-out with Clearwater police

CLEARWATER — A man who barricaded himself inside an apartment after a shoot-out with police was found dead inside by officers Wednesday afternoon.

Two Clearwater officers patrolling the Palmetto Park Apartments, at 1001 N Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., around noon said the man, who was wanted on a warrant, ran when they tried to approach him.

During the chase, the man fired a handgun multiple times at officers, police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said. One officer fired back, striking the gunman, who then ducked inside an apartment.

Officers attempted to contact the shooter but waited to enter, believing he was still armed, Watts said. When officers entered, they found him lying on the floor with a gun near his hand.

Paramedics were called, but the man was declared dead inside the apartment.

Late Wednesday night, police identified the man as Julius Richard Larrance, 19. Police said he was wanted on a warrant for hit and run and also was wanted for questioning in connection with a double homicide in Tampa and a lewd act in Clearwater. Details of those incidents were not available Wednesday night.

Neighbors at the complex were angry that police did not enter the apartment sooner. Blood stained the front step of the apartment, and on the doorknob hung a placard saying, "Do Not Disturb."

"I don't get on them for doing their job," said Jarvis Smith, 24, "but you don't just sit there and let a man die."

The officer who fired at the shooter, 14-year department veteran Karl Wassamer, 46, will be placed on administrative leave, as is department policy. He sustained a minor foot injury from what appears to be a bullet fragment, police said.

The other officer, Lauren Josey, 25, is considered a witness and will not be put on leave. She was hired in February.

Clearwater police and the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office will review the incident, which is standard procedure for all shootings involving police officers.

Times staff writer Diedra Rodriguez contributed to this report. Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 445-4170 or [email protected]

 
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