The Pinellas-Pasco state attorney has ruled that three St. Petersburg police officers were justified in fatally shooting a man who brandished a weapon last month.
In a letter Thursday to St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon, State Attorney Bernie McCabe said the officers performed within their legal duties and that the shooting of Ronald Wesley Sexton was “justifiable homicide.”
The officers — Nicolo Mangiaracina, Justin Morales and Michael Romano — remain on administrative duty while the St. Petersburg Police Department conducts an internal investigation.
According to a news release, Harmon will convene a review board and release the findings once the investigation is complete.
Sexton, 23, of 4412 10th Ave. N., was shot dead Sept. 2 after police got a report of a “man with a gun” from a neighbor.
The neighbor said he was awakened by Sexton, who had a pit bull with him and was yelling at the neighbor’s pit bull that was inside a fenced yard, police said. Witnesses said Sexton had been drinking at home during the day.
After receiving a 911 call, several officers arrived on the scene about 1:30 a.m., and three of the officers approached Sexton’s front yard. He came out of the house and was told to get on the ground, police said.
Sexton began to comply but suddenly pulled out a black semi-automatic handgun from his pants pocket and pointed it at an officer, police said. The three officers then fired at Sexton while he was on the front porch, police said.