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Tampa police officers cleared in teenager's shooting death

TAMPA — Two Tampa police officers who fired on a 16-year-old they say pointed a shotgun at them in July were justified in using deadly force, the State Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.

The State Attorney's Office said its investigation found no evidence to support claims by the boy's family that the fatal shooting was an overreaction.

Javon Neal was fired upon by Tampa officers Gregory Pryor, 36, and Shannon Murphy, 35, after they responded to a 911 call on July 22 reporting a shot fired at Central Court Apartments.

Police said the officers found Neal at the scene. They said he began running up the outdoor staircase at the complex's south end.

As he ran, police said, the officers could see him pull something out of his pant leg. They told him to show his hands, but he didn't, police said.

When he reached the third floor, police said, Neal turned toward the officers and held the shotgun at chest level. The officers ordered him to drop it and fired when he didn't. They said his weapon — a shotgun with a pistol grip — fell over the stair rail, landing on the ground below.

Days later, police released a blurry photo from a surveillance video that showed Neal running up the stairs, a pointed object protruding from his shorts. They said it was the barrel of the shotgun.

The two officers were placed on administrative leave until the investigation of the shooting concluded. They returned to normal duty on Tuesday.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or jbarry@tampabay.com.

Tampa police officers cleared in teenager's shooting death 08/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 8:21pm]
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