Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sergeant cleared of wrongdoing in fatal shooting

LARGO — Three weeks after a police sergeant fatally shot a man in Largo, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office has cleared the sergeant of any wrongdoing.

The shooting took place at 4:25 a.m. Oct. 3 at 1203 Ridge Road SW.

Authorities said the roots of the shooting go back to the spring when Vincent J. Esposito, 41, of Oldsmar had a brief romantic relationship with a woman named Lisa Walters.

Esposito and Walters broke up in June, and Esposito, who had served as an officer with the Chicago Police Department, blamed a mutual friend, Renee Colacchio.

Authorities found Esposito's angry e-mails to Walters blaming Colacchio as well as numerous phone calls to Colacchio.

Meanwhile, Colacchio, who lives on 14th Avenue SW, was the victim of a few hundred dollars worth of vandalism to her house and her minivan. BBs cracked the windows of her vehicle. Two tires were slashed. Someone shot a pellet gun at a window of the house and chipped it.

The vandalism always happened at night; twice Colacchio filed police reports. Other times she did not.

On the morning of the shooting, the state attorney's report said, Colacchio's neighbor spotted a man on her lawn shooting a BB gun.

The neighbor, Paul Conley, called police and then chased Esposito, both men on foot.

Conley and Esposito came face to face. Conley wielded a decorative dagger, and Esposito took out his pellet gun and held it by his side.

Esposito took off again, authorities said, running to his motorcycle.

Sgt. Frank Parr, in his patrol car, came upon Esposito as he was mounting his motorcycle to flee. Parr knew that Esposito reportedly was carrying a gun.

He ordered Esposito to put his hands in the air. When Esposito made a sudden motion — as if to reach for his weapon — Parr fired four times, striking Esposito with three of them and hitting Esposito's motorcycle with other shot.

Esposito died shortly after at a local hospital.

The report found some discrepancies in the various eyewitness accounts of the final moments leading up to the shooting.

Parr saw Esposito slowly kneel and then, on one knee, reach quickly for the side of his motorcycle with his hand. That's when Parr fired.

Conley said that at the last moment Esposito was on his motorcycle with his hands on the handlebars. He refused to comply with commands. Esposito then sat back on the bike and moved his hands quickly to his waist. Conley thought Esposito was going for his gun.

Officer John Sinni said that he saw Esposito crouched on the ground next to his motorcycle on his knees. He said Esposito did not raise his hands as ordered but had them near his waist, where a pellet pistol was later found.

The report said these discrepancies did not change the final conclusion that the shooting was justified.

Parr was put on an administrative leave while the investigation was under way. He was reinstated Tuesday.

An administrative review is under way to find out if there are ways the department could have handled the incident better, said Largo police Lt. Stephen Slaughter. He said Parr is a "highly trained, well-educated, well-rounded police officer."

"He had to make a tough decision that in law enforcement sometimes we have to make."

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

Sergeant cleared of wrongdoing in fatal shooting 10/23/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Accountability plan, post-Irma, turnarounds and more

    Blogs

    ACCOUNTABILITY: The Florida Department of Education submits a revised Every Student Succeeds Act plan without the waiver requests it had originally proposed. Experts and advocates …

    High Point Elementary teacher Kristen Bierman works with English language learners on their reading skills. The state wants to test all students in English, saying it's Florida law.
  2. Rays morning after: Zim's legacy felt on bunt play

    Blogs

     

  3. Work, threats continue as Hernando recovers from Irma

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE

    Hurricane Irma's fierce winds are becoming a memory, but the water the storm left behind has become a real threat on Hernando's east side.

    This aerial drone view shows flooding on the Withlacoochee River in the Talisman Estates area of east Hernando, south of Ridge Manor. The river is about 6 feet above flood stage, and its floodwaters are not expected to recede for days.
  4. A boy and a girl stare at the camera from their house after Hurrciane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Prss]
  5. Forecast: Dry air, hot temperatures remain in control across Tampa Bay

    Weather

    Dry but hot weather will continue Thursday across Tampa Bay with only a 20 percent chance of showers forecast for the afternoon.

    7 day forecast. [WTSP]