ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg police officer just three months on the job shot a 22-year-old man who pointed a gun at him Thursday night, deputies said.
The incident happened shortly before 9 p.m. near the intersection of 34th Street South and 22nd Avenue South. Officer Christian Collins shot Torey Donnell Barber from his patrol car after Barber pointed a gun at him, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, whose agency is investigating the shooting.
The incident began with 911 calls describing a man walking around 34th Street with a gun in his hand, and some callers were saying that Barber was firing the weapon, Gualtieri said at a news conference Friday morning. Collins and a field training officer were dispatched to the area.
Once there, the field training officer exited the cruiser and told Barber to drop his gun. Barber refused and fled on 34th Street, Gualtieri said.
Collins chased Barber in his marked patrol vehicle while the field training officer followed on foot. Barber then entered a parking lot at 2140 34th Street S and pointed his gun in Collins’ direction, Gualtieri said.
Collins fired two or three times from his patrol vehicle through the passenger window, Gualtieri said. Barber was shot in the upper body and was taken to a local hospital with injuries that deputies said were not life-threatening.
Gualtieri said Collins “did what he had to do to protect himself.”
Barber is a transient person with a history of being taken into protective custody under Florida’s Baker Act, Gualtieri said.
“This is really one of the unfortunate situations because it appears he has serious mental health issues,” Gualtieri said.
Pinellas County jail records show Barber was booked early Friday on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and obstructing or resisting an officer without violence.
Collins was hired in February, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He will be placed on paid administrative leave, St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said.
The Sheriff’s Office will continue investigating the shooting through the county’s Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force. The task force was formed in 2020 by a consortium of local agencies.