St. Petersburg, FL – A Pinellas County sheriff’s corporal was shot while trying to apprehend an alleged car burglar on Sunday night.
The incident began at approximately 6:50 p.m. on March 12, when the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) received a call about a suspect attempting to burglarize vehicles in the area of 64th Street North and 60th Avenue North, WFTS reported.
St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said two deputies responded to the scene and spotted the suspect near a church in the 6300-block of 62nd Avenue North, at which point the suspect took off running, according to WTVT.
The deputies chased after him, scaling multiple fences and running through people’s yards as they tried to apprehend him, WFTS reported.
One of the deputies is also a K9 handler and had his four-legged partner with him, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Chief Holloway said the gunman ultimately ambushed them in the backyard of a home, shooting a PCSO corporal multiple times.
The corporal is also the K9 handler, WFTS reported.
“In the backyard, the K9 is tracking, as they go past the building, the suspect comes out, he shoots at the K9 handler, striking him several times” Chief Holloway said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Then he turns his gun toward the sergeant.”
The PCSO sergeant returned fire from a position of cover and fatally shot the gunman, Chief Holloway said.
The wounded corporal was rushed to Bayfront Health, WFTS reported.
He has since been listed in stable condition and is expected to survive.
The corporal’s K9 partner was not injured during the attack, according to Bay News 9.
Chief Holloway said the deputies are “very lucky” to be alive, WFTS reported.
“You know, where our phones went off, and you see where a deputy is shot. Trust me, like I said, that phone call — you don’t want that phone call,” he said. “Getting here is the longest drive in your life — trying to update, trying to figure out what’s going on, what that deputy — it’s hard. It’s hard on everybody in the law enforcement community.”
The identity of the deceased suspect was not immediately released, nor was the name of the wounded corporal, WFTS reported.
The sergeant who shot the gunman has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as per protocol, Bay News 9 reported.
The St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD) is handling the ongoing investigation.
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