Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Public safety

St. Pete officer cleared in fatal shooting of woman

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ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer who shot a woman to death after she pointed a gun at him last month was cleared of wrongdoing Wednesday after a state attorney's investigation.

Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe declared the April 28 death of Pamela Dale Kirk to be "justifiable homicide" in a letter sent to St. Petersburg police Chief Chuck Harmon.

Officer Christopher Dolch fired three times at Kirk after she pointed a .38 Smith & Wesson at him through a window at her home at 2630 13th Ave. N, authorities said. Dolch was one of three officers who responded to a welfare check at the home after one of Kirk's neighbors reported she was acting strangely.

McCabe's letter detailed events that led up to the shooting.

At about 7:30 p.m. that day, Kirk visited her neighbor, Donna Kober, and asked her to take care of Kirk's dog. Kirk was crying during the visit and gave Kober a hug, which was uncharacteristic of their friendship.

Kober phoned police. Dolch arrived with officers Nicholas Cardinal and Matthew Enhoffer and spoke with Kober. They could hear Kirk inside the house, screaming, cursing and demanding that they leave her alone. As officers tried to talk to her, McCabe wrote, Kirk opened the door and said, "I'm going to get my gun and make you shoot me."

Dolch and Kober went to Kirk's back yard while the other two officers remained in the front. Kober had a key to the back door and tried to unlock it, but Kirk quickly locked it again. A moment later, Kirk pulled back a window curtain and pointed her gun at Dolch.

"Boom," she said.

Dolch fired three shots from his .45 Glock. Two hit Kirk in the chest. She later died.

"The actions of Pamela Dale Kirk, coupled with her depression and past suicidal comments, led to the conclusion that she was inviting her death by Officer Dolch," McCabe wrote.

In the last three years, police were called to Kirk's house five times. In four of those cases, she was taken into protective custody under the state's Baker Act.

After an incident on Feb. 1, 2011, police confiscated three guns from Kirk's home. They were later returned to her.

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