PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an officer-involved shooting that took place Thursday evening in St. Petersburg.
Officers said they were called to 22nd Avenue South and 34th Street South after reports that an armed man was firing shots in the area. Upon arrival, officers found Torey Barber, 21 with a handgun.
Officer Christian Collins, 26, ordered Barber to put down the gun, but police said he pointed his weapon at Collins sho then shot him.
“The reason why he fired, and rightly so, is because the bad guy came up, Barber came up with low, ready gun and points the gun at him and at that point, he did what he had to do to protect himself,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri at the scene Thursday night.
St. Petersburg Police said officer Collins was on the job for just three days after he graduated from an abbreviated session from their training academy and was with a field training officer at the time of the shooting.
A department spokesperson said Collins has worked as a police officer since 2018 in Philadelphia and was hired after he moved to Florida.
Dexter Mlinwengu with the Uhuru Movement in St. Petersburg said they will also investigate the shooting.
“The investigation conducted by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department, an institution that has historically brutalized the black community will not be the final word on this matter,” Mlinwengu said.