Officer Jeffery Tackett's final radio call told the story.
"I'm shot. It looks bad, and he's got my gun," the Belleair police officer said as he lay dying Sunday night after responding to a prowler call at the Pelican Place condominiums.
Tackett's previous radio call had been for help.
"He was attempting to arrest someone and needed backup," said Pinellas sheriff's Sgt. Greg Tita.
Shortly before midnight, as Tackett was trying to handcuff the man, something went wrong.
"I could hear a dispute and a voice saying, "Put it down! Put it down!' Then the shot went off," said Christina Pack, who lives nearby.
Tackett, 28, was shot with his own .45-caliber pistol.
The man, riding a bicycle, fled on the Pinellas Trail, which is separated from the rear of the complex by a wooden fence.
Clearwater police arrested Lorenzo Lamar Jenkins, 31, early Monday and charged him with first-degree murder.
Tackett's pistol was recovered from a ditch near the condominiums, which are at 672 Poinsettia Road.
Tackett is the only officer killed in the line of duty in Belleair, a town of about 4,000 residents. Five officers have been killed in the line of duty locally since 1978.
Tackett was married and had been on the 10-person force for five years.
And he was the only Belleair officer on patrol Sunday night. He had reportedly expressed concerns about being the lone officer on overnight patrol.
Jenkins, who has no permanent address, has a criminal record in both Pinellas and Duval counties.
Pinellas County sheriff's Deputy Chris Lutz said he had lost a friend.
"He was always there," Lutz said, "always behind you when you needed him."
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