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Mystery for Largo family ends in fatal shooting of Oldsmar man

LARGO — The harassment at Renee Salazar's house went on for months.

BBs cracked the windows on her minivan. One hit the window of her house.

Two tires on her van were slashed. She kept receiving anonymous calls from someone making sexual noises or not saying anything at all.

It was terrifying for the 40-year-old mother of three and on Friday morning, police say the nerve-wracking mystery came to an end when an officer fatally shot a man near Salazar's house.

Here's how events unfolded, according to Largo police Lt. Mike Loux:

At 4:21 a.m., a neighbor called police to report someone shooting near Salazar's house on 14th Avenue SW. The caller said the shooter fled on foot.

Four minutes later, on Ridge Road SW, Sgt. Frank Parr came across the suspect, Vincent J. Esposito, 41, of Oldsmar.

Esposito was carrying a pellet gun that was a replica of a 1911 .45-caliber, semi-automatic handgun, according to Loux.

A confrontation took place and Parr shot Esposito, who died soon after at a local hospital.

Parr, the on-duty patrol supervisor, was put on a routine, paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated. A 12-year veteran of the police department, Parr has not been involved in any other shootings, Loux said.

Loux said that the ongoing investigation prevented him from giving out details about the roots of the trouble that led to the shooting.

The incident left Salazar shaken. Sitting in front of her house Friday, Salazar said she met Esposito a year ago at a bar. Salazar said Esposito worked as a general contractor. They got to know each other and Esposito started dating one of Salazar's friends. The relationship lasted less than three months, Salazar said. Her friend found Esposito too controlling and broke it off, she said.

She said Esposito started harassing her because he blamed her for the relationship's end.

"I was happy when they caught him but now to sit back and think about it, it's scary," Salazar said.

She and her three children were inside the house and could have been hurt.

"I'm glad they got him, but I don't think he should have died that way," Salazar said. "I wish he chose a different path."

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Mystery for Largo family ends in fatal shooting of Oldsmar man 10/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 11:44am]
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