ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A handful of protesters gathered Saturday at the scene of a fatal deputy-involved shooting in St. Petersburg.
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Spencer Gross said in an email that the man was shot overnight Saturday after threatening deputies with an assault weapon.
Neither the deputies nor the suspect who was fatally shot were identified immediately.
The man fatally shot had been a passenger in a car that deputies say was being driven recklessly and also matched the description of a stolen vehicle, Gross said.
Officers and deputies on a vehicle-theft task force tried to stop the vehicle but it crashed into two police cruisers before taking off. The officers on the ground backed off their pursuit and a helicopter tracked the car from air, Gross said.
Deputies and officers again tried to stop the car, and this time, the passenger ran out of the vehicle on foot carrying an AR-15 assault weapon. The suspect at some point turned and threatened the deputies with the weapon, Gross said, and the suspect was shot.
Local media reported that the protesters at the shooting scene said it's only the latest chase involving Pinellas County deputies that resulted in deaths.
Three teenage girls drowned earlier this year after they stole a car from a Pinellas County Walmart parking lot. Though the county sheriff's rules forbid deputies from chasing stolen vehicles, some officers were trailing the car when the car plunged into a pond off a sharp turn in the road.
Some protesters say the deputies didn't do enough to rescue the teenagers, but Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said deputies waded into the water and tried to save the girls.