ST. PETERSBURG — A man found dead Monday in an alley was shot to death as he tried to rob drug dealers, police said.
Investigators said Tuesday that they know who did it, but they don't think he will be prosecuted for murder.
Drug dealing aside, the case at its core is about self-defense, police spokesman Mike Puetz said.
Carlos Antonio Green, 40, was found dead in an alley in the 1600 block of 27th Street S early Monday morning. Green was new to the streets, having just been released from prison July 1 after serving a 15-year sentence for manslaughter.
Police said Tuesday that a 32-year-old man named Aaron McKenzie shot and killed Green on Sunday night, then dumped his body in the alley.
Police said it all began Sunday night when Green, armed with a 9 mm, tried to rob a group of people at Fairfield Avenue S and 29th Street. McKenzie, one of the people in the group, fired his own 40 caliber handgun. Green was struck at least twice in the head and neck and died at the scene.
McKenzie and the others didn't want to call police because they were dealing drugs, police said, so they loaded the body into a dark green Dodge Ram to dump in an alley.
After he unloaded the body, McKenzie drove away — with his headlights off.
He ended up in the direct path of a police cruiser in the 1100 block of 25th Street S, police said.
Officer Ryan Larson had to leave the roadway to avoid a crash, police said. After the near miss, Larson began chasing the truck before it struck an embankment in the alley.
McKenzie bailed, but was caught later in some bushes, police said. The officer's hand was broken during a struggle. McKenzie was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on several charges.
The next day, homicide detectives began working the Green case. As the investigation progressed, they went to confront McKenzie about his role in Green's death.
McKenzie agreed to cooperate, police said.
"He admitted what he did. He took them to the scene," Puetz said. "And that was it."
The final decision will rest with prosecutors, police said, but it appears the shooting will be categorized as a justifiable homicide.
McKenzie still faces charges of fleeing and eluding, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, reckless driving and driving without a valid license.