1. News

Largo police identify man fatally shot by officer at traffic stop

Linus F. Phillip, 30, was identified as the man who was killed on March 23, 2018, in what police officials called a "violent, explosive situation" at a Wawa gas station at 1215 Missouri Ave. N.
Published Mar. 26, 2018

LARGO — Police on Monday identified the man who was fatally shot by an officer this past weekend and offered new details about the incident.

Linus F. Phillip, 30, was fatally shot by the officer at the Wawa gas station at 1215 Missouri Ave. N on Friday, according to Largo police.

The incident started just before 6 p.m. Largo police Officers Matthew Steiner and Prentice Ables pulled over a black Nissan sedan driven by Phillip at the gas station due to illegally tinted windows, officials said.

While talking to Phillip, police said the officers smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Largo officer shoots, kills motorist who drove at him, police say

As officers tried to detain him, police said Phillip jumped into the driver's seat of the Nissan and tried to drive away.

Steiner found himself trapped halfway in the vehicle as Phillip put it in reverse and accelerated with the driver's side door open, police said. Ables was able to get out of the car's way.

While Steiner was being dragged by the car, police said he drew his firearm and fired "in self-defense," police said. The officer then fell out of the car and found the open driver's side door "brushed" over him.

The Nissan, still going in reverse, hit another car, crashed into the gas station's bollards and then stopped between two gas pumps.

Officers then started medical treatment for Phillip and called for paramedics, police said.

Phillip was later pronounced dead at Largo Medical Center.

Afterward, police said they found a "significant amount" of crack cocaine, powdered cocaine and marijuana in his car. Police did not say how many times Steiner fired his weapon.

"At the time, the officer felt he was in peril for his own life and took action," said Largo police Lt. Randall Chaney at a news conference held Friday night hours after the incident. "It stopped the action of the suspect at the time, and it may very well have saved people's lives in the parking lot that night."

Steiner a seven-year veteran of the force, was injured in the incident and taken to Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater for medical treatment.

Phillip had served two short stints in prison in 2009 and 2014 for drug charges, according to state records. He had been freed in October 2014 on early release, police said.


  1. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Booked on Friday on probation violation charges, 61-year-old Gerald Souders died on Saturday.
  2. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Troopers say the 28-year-old driver was involved in two minor accidents before causing the crash that killed a Largo woman.
  3. Move over, Honeycrisp: New apple to debut at grocery stores
  4. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a 25-year-old grad student enrolled at the University of Florida fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  5. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister [CHRIS URSO | Times]
    Yes, that’s an "R" next to his name on the ballot. But if you dig deeper, Sue Carlton asks, does the sheriff bleed blue? And a follow-up: Does it matter?
  6. The projected path of Nestor National Hurricane Center
    Nestor is expected to dump two to four inches of rain in Tampa Bay, along with the threat of tornadoes.
  7. Fin is Pinellas County's Pet of the Week. Friends of Strays Animal Shelter
    The 4-year-old mixed breed is available for adoption at Friends of Strays Animal Shelter
  8. A semi-trailer truck fell onto an SUV on Interstate 4 on Friday night after a reported tornado touched down and crossed the highway near Lakeland. No one was injured. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    A tornado caused damage and power loss but no injuries in Pinellas County. In Polk County, I-4 drivers were fortunate no one was injured when another tornado crosses the interstate.