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Fatal shooting of armed man by Pinellas deputies is ruled justified

They were trying to arrest Chad Allen Jenkins on charges of child abuse and domestic violence.
Chad Allen Jenkins, 50, of St. Petersburg, was shot to death by deputies who had come to his home to arrest him on charges including child abuse, police said.
Chad Allen Jenkins, 50, of St. Petersburg, was shot to death by deputies who had come to his home to arrest him on charges including child abuse, police said. [ Facebook ]
Published Oct. 27
Updated Oct. 27

The fatal shooting of a man with a gun by two Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies has been ruled justified by the State Attorney’s Office.

In a letter to the Sheriff’s Office, State Attorney Bruce Bartlett summarized a St. Petersburg Police Department investigation into the Oct. 4 shooting of 50-year-old Chad Allen Jenkins.

Jenkins retrieved a Taurus 9mm pistol from the glove compartment of his vehicle and pointed it at deputies as they were attempting to arrest him on charges of child abuse and domestic violence, the letter said.

One deputy opened fire with a rifle, the other with a pistol, fatally wounding Jenkins. A hole in the ceiling of the vehicle also indicated that Jenkins had fired his weapon.

The deputies, identified as Cpl. Casey Hunter and Deputy Derric Gandee-Lunsford, were attempting to arrest Jenkins after a 911 caller said he hit his ex-girlfriend and her son as the boy tried to stop the beating.

Witnesses and doorbell cameras revealed that Jenkins was making suicidal statements after the attack. He also suggested suicide by cop, the letter said. The ex-girlfriend warned deputies that a risk protection order prohibiting Jenkins from possessing a gun had expired and that he would likely be armed.

The ex-girlfriend, who was not named, also warned police of Jenkins’ mental health issues. He was known to have sudden mood changes and had been violent throughout their relationship, the letter said.

On the day of the shooting, a Monday, Jenkins went to the ex-girlfriend’s house twice — once at 6 p.m. and again three hours later, when the attack took place. Afterward, he texted her that “this was the end of him” and that she should not call 911.

The woman told investigators Jenkins had repeatedly said in the past that he’d kill himself or attempt suicide by cop before he gave up his guns to authorities again.

Deputies devised a plan for a safe arrest at Jenkins’ home, which was foiled when Jenkins walked out and got into his car. Moments later he was confronted by Hunter.

Hunter approached Jenkins’ vehicle with a rifle in an up and ready position. He ordered Jenkins to stay still, but Jenkins reached for the glove compartment, the letter said. Moments later, Hunter saw a pistol in Jenkins’ hand pointed at him.

Hunter opened fire first and Deputy Gandee-Lunsford followed, firing his pistol after he reached the car. Jenkins was hit six times, according to an autopsy report. He received first aid but died at the scene. The deputies were not injured.

One round had been fired from the pistol in Jenkins’ hand and it contained another 11 rounds. A second handgun, a Smith and Wesson .380, was found in his pocket and contained seven rounds.

Bodycam footage verified statements the deputies gave about the shooting, the letter said.

The St. Petersburg Police Department will continue investigating the shooting through the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force.

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Law enforcement agencies no longer investigate their own officers in use-of-force incidents. The task force was formed in 2020 by a consortium of local agencies.