ST. PETERSBURG, FL. – Detectives assigned to the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force are investigating an officer-involved shooting in the City of St. Petersburg.
At approximately 3:30 p.m. on October 20, 2021, St. Petersburg Police officers responded to the area of Wildwood Park at 1000 28th Street South after reports of a domestic disturbance between a male and a female.
The caller reported the male involved had a gun and he was actively involved in an argument with the female, attempting to take her phone.
According to detectives, officers made contact with the female involved and were able to develop charges on the male for battery.
When officers arrived, the male, later identified as 17-year-old Christopher Tonsel, fled on foot from Wildwood Park to 13th Avenue South, running eastbound. St. Petersburg
K-9 Officer Leighton Williams observed the suspect run between two homes into an alleyway.
Detectives say Officer Williams exited his patrol car with his K-9 in an attempt to locate Tonsel. Tonsel concealed himself in the area of 2488 13th Avenue South. Officer Williams found Tonsel and challenged the suspect, giving him several verbal commands to drop the firearm.
Tonsel reached for the firearm and began to point it toward Officer Williams. Officer Williams fired one time and struck Tonsel once in the abdomen area was transported to Bayfront Hospital in critical condition.
Tonsel is also the suspect of an armed robbery that occurred on Sunday, October 17, 2021, on a 10-year-old and 15-year-old.
Earlier this year, the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Taskforce was created to ensure the investigations conducted into law enforcement use of deadly force are thorough, complete, and objective.
The purpose of this taskforce is to make sure that officer-involved shootings in Pinellas County are investigated by an independent agency and not by the agency involved in the use of deadly force.
Officer Williams will be placed on routine administrative leave.
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