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Man shoots wife, is then killed hours later by SWAT team, Pinellas Park police say

SWAT members at the scene where a suspect fled after a shooting at a medical building in Pinellas Park on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. The suspect shot his wife, who worked in the medical building, then fled the scene to a neighborhood behind the building. SWAT is searching for the suspect. [ALLIE GOULDING | Times]
Published Apr. 10

PINELLAS PARK — A 47-year-old man who repeatedly shot his wife outside her workplace on Wednesday morning died hours later in a confrontation with a SWAT team, according to Pinellas Park police.

Anna May Wittman, 42, was reported to be critical condition at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg late Wednesday, police said. Her husband, David Eugene Wittman, was fatally shot by officers more than six hours later.

Pinellas Park police did not say what led to the shooting.

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The violence started when the husband confronted his wife at her workplace, Tampa Bay Imaging at 7800 66th St. N. The call to 911 came in at 7:39 a.m. and reported a "verbal domestic disturbance."

The husband took his wife outside at gunpoint, police said, then shot her several times in the parking lot next to a gray Ford Mustang before running away.

The man then drove away. Officers soon found him at the couple's home at 6749 80th Ave N.

A neighbor, Gary Earle, said he went outside at about 8:15 a.m. to clean his truck when he heard police officers yelling: "Put the gun down, put the gun down." More and more police units started to arrive.

Earle, 65, said he saw a man in the doorway of a house waving his gun around as police tried to talk to him. One officer pulled up and told him and a neighbor that he had shot his wife four times, Earle said.

Police soon received information that the man may also have an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and other weapons in the house, said Pinellas Park Capt. Brian Unmisig.

The SWAT team was called in and police started negotiating with the man, who barricaded himself inside.

Negotiators went "back and forth" in conversations with the man, Unmisig said. At times, the captain said the man brandished a gun while talking to police. The negotiations were dangerous because officers were "often times face to face" with the armed man, Unmisig said.

Several times during the negotiations, police said, the husband put his gun down while speaking to the officers, only to pick it back up. Police declined to share what the man said to them during the negotiations.

At 2:23 p.m. officers tried to apprehend the man using non-lethal force. But that didn't work, police said, and the husband went back into the house and armed himself.

A "deadly force encounter," then ensued, police said. Two SWAT officers fired their weapons, fatally wounding the man, Unmisig said. No gunshots were fired at the officers.

The captain declined to identify the officers who opened fire, or say how many gunshots were fired.

The standoff lasted for more than 6½-hours. More than a dozen police cruisers, ambulances and crime scene vehicles lined 67th Street for most of the day.

Earle, who said he's lived in the neighborhood since 1985, said such violence was once pretty common. He thought those days were long gone.

"It used to be the Wild West out here," he said. "But it's pretty unusual now."

Times senior researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or kvarn@tampabay.com. Follow @kathrynvarn. Contact McKenna Oxenden at moxenden@tampabay.com. Follow @mack_oxenden.

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