A gunfight left a trail of bullet holes and shattered glass along the 1400 block of Gulf To Bay Boulevard.
Clearwater Police said the suspected gunman, Wayne Falana, opened fire on officers at around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Chief Dan Slaughter said his officers were ambushed.
“I think whenever you have that number of rounds that were fired. I think we’re grateful that our officers were not hurt,” he said.
Police said it started as a welfare check on Falana’s girlfriend, Annie Vann, who had reportedly sent a message to a family member asking them to call 911.
“Once they asked her to come out and meet them, the subject Mr. Falana ended up firing multiple times at the officers while he stood from inside the residence,” said Chief Slaughter.
Officers said Falana opened fire with an M-11 9 mm, and bullets went flying. Officers ducked for cover. Officer Thomas Dawe was at the door when the suspect started shooting and he was hit in the boot and a few bullets went through his clothing.
Falana ran out the front door and was confronted by officers who opened fire. Neighbors said they continued to shoot Falana after he fell.
“I thought they Tasered him at first but of course I know the difference between being Tased and shot and then I knew he was shot and then he was laying down on his stomach and he was moving because he was in pain and then they shot him again because he was moving,” said Kimberly Hicks.
Chief Slaughter said, “They describe him still moving while on the ground but potentially moving towards a handgun.”
Now Vann, the woman at the center of it all, must explain what happened.
“She very well may be a victim in this whole scenario. She may be a person suffering from spouse abuse syndrome or she may be somebody who willingly helped to set the police officers up,” said Chief Slaughter.
Officers Michael Spitaleri, Robert Main, Zachery Senter, and Steven Buis, the four officers that fired their weapons were placed on administrative leave while separate and independent investigations are conducted by the Office of the State Attorney, the Clearwater Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, and the Office of Professional Standards.