Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas State Attorney's Office: Fatal shooting by deputies justified

*EDITOR'S NOTE: The man shot by Pinellas County sheriff's deputies in October after law enforcement said he went on a shooting rampage survived. An earlier version of this story said otherwise.

LEALMAN — The State Attorney's Office has concluded that a shooting involving two Pinellas County sheriff's deputies that left a man dead on Nov. 5 was justified.

State Attorney Bernie McCabe, who represents Pinellas and Pasco counties, said deputies Jake Gauthier and Jonathan Segrete feared for their lives when they fatally shot 49-year-old John Zemola. Zemola was advancing toward the two deputies wielding a knife when they fired seven rounds at him, McCabe said in a statement detailing findings from his office's investigation into the matter.

"It is my conclusion that the death of John Zemola was the result of having been shot by Deputies Gauthier and Segrete of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office while in the performance of their legal duties and that the shooting was justifiable homicide," McCabe said in his statement.

Gauthier and Segrete were responding to a domestic dispute between Zemola and his wife Cammy Zemola at their residence at 5198 64th St. N. in Lealman.

The couple, married for 18 months, had gotten into an argument that morning when John saw a text message from Cammy's ex-husband in her phone, McCabe's statement said.

The State Attorney's Office found that Zemola became physically violent with his wife later that evening, prompting Cammy to text her mother to call law enforcement.

Zemola was ramming his pickup truck into his wife's car and the couple's home when deputies arrived. The Sheriff's Office has said he advanced on the deputies with a knife and ignored commands to drop the weapon when he was shot.

An autopsy report showed Zemola had a blood-alcohol level of .221 and medication for bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression.

The shooting was one of three recent deputy-involved shootings in the Lealman area. In October, deputies shot a man who was on a shooting rampage after being evicted from his residence. Another man was fatally shot by a deputy the night before Thanksgiving at an apartment complex for disabled veterans after the Sheriff's Office said he wielded a knife at two deputies who were called to the apartments for a domestic dispute.

Contact Times staff writer LaVendrick Smith at lsmith@tampabay.com. Follow @LaVendrickS

Pinellas State Attorney's Office: Fatal shooting by deputies justified 11/28/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 4:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.