Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

Three St. Petersburg teens face armed robbery charges

ST. PETERSBURG — Three teenagers face armed robbery charges after holding up a tobacco shop Thursday and leading police on a chase in which officers shot one of the teens in the getaway car, authorities said.

Jahlil Cobbs, 16, faces charges of armed robbery and assault on a law enforcement officer; Jahi Williams, 15, faces charges of armed robbery, reckless driving, leaving an accident scene, driving without a license and aggravated fleeing; River Tremblay, 15, faces a charge of armed robbery.

The three St. Petersburg teenagers are being held in the Pinellas County Juvenile Assessment Center.

Officer Nicolo Mangiaracina, 33, shot one of the teens after it appeared he flashed a gun. The three-year officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in all police shootings.

Police said the robbery unfolded like this:

The suspects entered Scorpion Tobacco, 1116 34th St. N, about 6:45 p.m. and demanded money from the employees. One suspect served as a lookout while the other two robbed the store.

During the robbery, one store employee phoned a friend who called 911, police said.

Officers approached the store minutes later. As they did, two suspects ran out the back entrance and jumped into a Nissan Altima belonging to a store employee. The suspects crashed into another car as they drove south on 34th Street. The officers pursued.

Near the 400 block of 34th Street N, a passenger in the Altima flashed what looked like a long-barreled shotgun out the window, prompting officers to fire at the car, police said.

The Altima then crashed into a nearby police cruiser, where an officer had been investigating an unrelated traffic crash. After the crash, officers fired a second volley of bullets as they approached the disabled car and arrested the two suspects, police said.

Mangiaracina hit Cobbs in the leg with a bullet. He was treated at the hospital and released. Tremblay stayed behind at the tobacco shop but was later arrested, police said.

Mangiaracina and another officer also were treated for injuries and released. A June 2011 review in Mangiaracina's personnel files lists him as a "stellar performer" with no disciplinary problems.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

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