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Belleair officer is shot, killed

In the darkness behind a condominium, Belleair police Officer Jeffery Tackett was alone when he tried to make what became his last arrest.

He pointed his service revolver at a man he'd discovered breaking into a door about 11:15 p.m. Sunday. Tackett managed to get one handcuff on the man. Then something went awry.

Tackett, 28, was shot once in the groin with his .45-caliber gun. He bled to death, alone in the darkness while backup officers looked for him.

The burglar escaped, riding a blue 10-speed bicycle on the Pinellas Trail. Officers from Largo, Belleair, Belleair Bluffs and Clearwater converged on the trail. Early Monday morning, Clearwater police found a man on a bicycle who had been seen with a handcuff dangling from his wrist.

After Pinellas County sheriff's detectives questioned Lorenzo Lamar Jenkins, he was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder in Tackett's death.

Jenkins, 31, who has no permanent address, was being held without bail at the county jail.

Tackett is the only officer killed on duty in the history of Belleair, which was incorporated in 1954. A five-year veteran of the town's department and one of 10 officers, he was being considered for promotion to corporal, officials said.

Complete coverage in Section B

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