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Man charged in shooting of estranged wife's friend

A 28-year-old man kicked in the front door of his estranged wife's house and shot to death a man in the bedroom early Friday, police said. Police arrived about 2:30 a.m. and found the man pointing a .45-caliber handgun in the air and holding his wife, Sgt. Raymond Gleaton said. The body of the shooting victim was found later, Gleaton said.

Police arrested Michael L. Summerton of 10215 Fourth St. E, Treasure Island. He was charged in connection with the shooting death of Tommie K. Howell Jr., 22, of 8450 Orient Way NE, St. Petersburg, Gleaton said. Howell was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, Gleaton said.

Summerton was charged with first-degree murder, armed burglary and aggravated assault, Gleaton said. He was taken to the Pinellas County Jail after questioning by Gulfport Police detectives.

Court records show Summerton's wife, Lori, filed for divorce in January. A judge issued a restraining order the same month, ordering Summerton to stay away from her, records show. Lori Summerton and Howell were friends, said Lt. Carl P. Bockiaro, acting Gulfport police chief.

When they arrived at the house in the 1900 block of 54th Street S, police discovered the front door apparently had been kicked in, Bockiaro said. The Summertons were standing in the hallway, he said.

Gleaton said Summerton threatened his estranged wife as he held onto her, but he never pointed the gun at her.

Summerton was told to drop the gun and he did, Gleaton said.

Summerton was arrested after he released the woman. Police said Lori Summerton told them Howell had been shot in the bedroom. He was found there with four bullet wounds, Gleaton said.

Neither Lori Summerton nor Howell's family could be reached for comment Friday.

According to court records, Summerton had been arrested in 1981 for retail theft and in 1985 for unlawful use of a license.