Saturday, February 24, 2018
Public safety

Four St. Petersburg officers cleared in fatal shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — An internal police review found that four officers who shot and killed a man outside a gas station in October were justified.

Acting Police Chief David DeKay determined Thursday that Officers Matthew Laliberte, Scott Kirpan, Mark Kruzell and Matthew Stringfellow all used appropriate force Oct. 17 after responding to a call reporting a man with a gun.

Jason Michael Kerr, 31, had a history of violence and drug abuse. Pinellas County records show Kerr first encountered problems with police at the age of 14. He had since been charged with home invasion robbery, aggravated assault with a weapon and trafficking and possessing illegal drugs, among others.

A State Attorney's Office report also found that before he was shot, Kerr called his wife "to tell her he was going to die tonight," according to the review board report.

That day Kerr sat in the Hungry Baba's restaurant on 18th Avenue S and Martin Luther King Jr. Street. An employee noticed Kerr sweating profusely and handed him a towel, police said.

Later employees called police after they saw Kerr waving a gun in the parking lot.

Kerr drove away in a white Dodge Caravan but officers pulled him over in the Snax convenience store parking lot across the street. From the front seat, Kerr pulled out a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and fired at police at least three times, hitting two marked cruisers, police said. The four officers shot back, killing Kerr.

A criminal inquiry by the State Attorney's Office also found the shooting justified.

Comments
Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

This is the sad new math in the age of school slaughter.If one student comes to school with a firearm and 10 ammunition magazines filled with 30 bullets each, and another comes with a firearm and 30 magazines filled with 10 bullets each, who can crea...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Sheriff: Small plane goes down in Zephyrhills

Sheriff: Small plane goes down in Zephyrhills

ZEPHYHRHILLS — A small aircraft crashed along Old Lakeland Highway on Friday afternoon, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies believe the plane was a two-seater.No other information was available about the incident, including the id...
Published: 02/23/18
Tampa judge sentences man to 330 years after repeat trips to the Philippines to have sex with children and make child porn

Tampa judge sentences man to 330 years after repeat trips to the Philippines to have sex with children and make child porn

TAMPA — A Venice man convicted of producing child pornography and regularly traveling to the Philippines to have sex with children was sentenced Friday to spend 330 years in federal prison. In October, a federal jury found David Paul Lynch, 56, guilt...
Published: 02/23/18

School District demands students leave backpacks at home due to threats

Middle school and high school students across Manatee County have been asked to leave their backpacks at home Friday in response to "an excessive number of threats."The Manatee County School District announced its decision through telephone calls and...
Published: 02/23/18
Video shows Brandon car chase ending as driver’s dog barks at deputies

Video shows Brandon car chase ending as driver’s dog barks at deputies

BRANDON — After leading deputies on a wild car chase over roads, sidewalks and yards, a driver faces charges including attempting to elude law enforcement.No legal action was taken against a passenger, though — a dog riding with him who popped from t...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Police: Person found inside van in Walmart parking lot an apparent suicide victim

Police: Person found inside van in Walmart parking lot an apparent suicide victim

TARPON SPRINGS — Police have determined that a person found in a van at a Walmart parking lot on Thursday had died of an apparent suicide.Police investigated the death after the body was found Thursday afternoon in a van at a Walmart parking lot.The ...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward’s top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff’s department.A school campus cop heard the gunfire, rushed ...
Published: 02/22/18
Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Associated PressSTARKE — An inmate convicted of raping and killing a college student decades ago screamed and yelled "murderers!" three times, thrashing on a gurney as he was being put to death Thursday. The governor’s office said Eric Scott Branch, ...
Published: 02/22/18
Polk deputies seek Pinellas man accused of pushing woman from speeding car

Polk deputies seek Pinellas man accused of pushing woman from speeding car

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said an arrest warrant was issued for a Pinellas County man accused of beating and pushing a woman from a speeding car.The incident took place on Feb. 17, the Sheriff’s Office said. Remond Brown II, 26, was traveling ...
Published: 02/22/18
Dunedin man seriously injured in motorcycle crash

Dunedin man seriously injured in motorcycle crash

OLDSMAR — A 37-year-old Dunedin man was seriously injured in a high-speed motorcycle crash early Thursday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said Justin Kaune was riding southbound on Bayside Boulevard around 2:30 a.m...
Published: 02/22/18