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Crime & Courts

St. Pete officer fatally shoots man with ax

Tribune staff
Published:   |   Updated: September 23, 2013 at 11:36 PM

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A St. Petersburg police officer fatally shot a man who was wielding an ax and threatening people Monday night in downtown St. Petersburg.

The man, whose name hasn’t been released, was threatening people with an ax at around 6:45 p.m. in the area of Central Avenue and Fourth Street, police said.

Two officers responded to the scene after police dispatch received a call about the man threatening people.

When one officer arrived, he saw a group of five to six people running and turning the corner onto North Fourth Street. They seemed in distress, said Mike Puetz, a St. Petersburg Police Department spokesman.

Behind the group was the man wielding an ax.

The officer confronted him and told him to drop the ax, Puetz said. But the man kept the ax up and advanced towards the officer. He was also saying unintelligible remarks.

When the man was about seven feet from the officer, the officer shot him multiple times, Puetz said.

The man dropped the ax and fell to the pavement, Puetz said.

Paramedics arrived at the scene and pronounced the man dead at the scene, Puetz said. The officers and the people running in the group weren’t injured.

The victim was identified as a 27-year-old homeless man. The suspect has a history of mental health issues and may also have issues with substance abuse.

Stay with TBO.com for updates.

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