Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri released footage Wednesday from the body camera worn by a Pinellas Park police officer who fatally shot a man while responding to a domestic dispute Tuesday.
Officer Cameron Williams fired five rounds at 36-year-old Jared Daniel Rudderham at 1:03 a.m. Tuesday outside a home at 5000 94th Ave. N. Rudderham had racked a gun and turned in the officer’s direction, Gualtieri said. Rudderham was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he was pronounced dead.
Williams’ body camera footage shows the officer approaching Rudderham in the backyard and saying, “Hey, Jared.” Rudderham can be seen turning toward Williams with a gun, and the officer begins firing.
The sheriff’s office released the body camera footage on behalf of the county’s Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force, which is investigating the shooting, along with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office.
Gualtieri said the dispute began when Rudderham texted his ex-girlfriend on Monday afternoon around 4 p.m., saying, “I’m going to kill everyone.” He sent another text at 11 p.m. saying, “Hey,” but the woman ignored it.
Then, around midnight Tuesday, Rudderham showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s house and began tapping on her window and trying to convince her to come outside, Gualtieri said.
The woman called her mother, who called the police. The sheriff’s office initially reported that the woman was the man’s girlfriend and that she had been the one to call 911.
Officers arrived at the scene, and two of them began talking with the ex-girlfriend at the front door. Pinellas Cpl. Graham Fox was outside the fenced-in backyard, south of the home, and saw Rudderham pacing in the backyard, holding his cellphone and a canned beverage. At that time, Gualtieri said, he was not holding a gun.
Three officers went around the side of the house to talk with Rudderham, and, as they approached, he pulled a 9 mm handgun from his waistband and racked the firearm to load a round into the chamber, Gualtieri said. At that point, Williams shot Rudderham.
Just one minute prior, Rudderham had texted his ex-girlfriend and said, “I guess it’s popping” — street slang for saying things were going to get bad, Gualtieri said. Officers found a round in the chamber of Rudderham’s gun and 12 rounds in the magazine. He also had a second magazine with 15 rounds, Gualtieri said.
Williams has been placed on administrative leave while he is evaluated by the agency’s mental health team, in accordance with agency policy, Pinellas Park police Chief Michael Haworth said.
At Wednesday’s news conference, Gualtieri encouraged anyone who experiences domestic violence or disputes involving threats to reach out to the police.
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“People should be comfortable calling us,” he said. “When you see these types of indicators, reach out. Give us an opportunity to try and intervene.”