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PROSECUTORS: OFFICERS JUSTIFIED IN SHOOTING

ST. PETERSBURG

Three police officers were performing their legal duty when they shot and killed a man they said had pointed a gun at them from his front porch on Labor Day, prosecutors said this week.

In a letter sent to police Chief Chuck Harmon on Thursday, Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe said Officers Nicolo Mangiaracina, Michael Romano and Justin Morales "had reason to believe that Ronald Sexton posed a danger of great bodily harm or death to Officer Mangiaracina when they fired their weapons."

At about 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 2, a neighbor told police that Sexton, 23, of St. Petersburg had pulled a gun and was beating on his door. Police said Sexton was taunting the neighbor and the neighbor's pit bull.

When officers arrived at Sexton's home at 4412 10th Ave. N, they told Sexton to get on the ground. He began to comply, but then pulled out his gun and pointed it at one of the officers.

All three officers fired their guns, totalling 17 shots.

Afterward, family members told Tampa Bay Times reporters they believed that officers acted too quickly in killing Sexton. The officers remain on administrative duty while the department completes an internal review.

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