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Police: Largo officer shot, killed suspect while being dragged by car

Pinellas County
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Largo police say an officer narrowly escaped being run over by a suspect, who he shot and killed during a confrontation on Friday.

The Largo Police Department released new information on Monday about the deadly shooting that happened at a Wawa gas station on North Missouri Avenue.

Largo police officers Matthew Steiner and Prentice Ables were on patrol when they noticed a Nissan Altima with illegally tinted windows.

They started talking to the car’s driver, 30-year-old Linus F. Phillip.

While standing near Phillip, the officers said they could smell marijuana coming from the car.

Officers tried to detain Phillip, but he jumped into the driver’s seat and started to drive away.

Officer Steiner was trapped halfway in the car as Phillip put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated.  The driver’s door was open and concrete posts were nearby. 

Officer Ables was able to move away from vehicle, but Officer Steiner was dragged.

“As it accelerated backwards, Officer Steiner attempted to defend himself and fired four shots, which all struck the suspect. At that point, Officer Steiner fell out of the front of the vehicle. He fell out of the vehicle, onto the pavement, was nearly run over by the car, the driver’s door actually passing over him and brushing him as it went over him,” said Lt. Randall Chaney, with Largo police.

Officer Steiner fired his gun in self-defense, according to LPD. The suspect was shot four times.

Officer Steiner narrowly avoided being run over as the car continued backward and slammed into the concrete posts.

The Altima came to rest between rows of gas pumps. Both officers and backup officers who responded to the scene provided medical assistance to Phillip and called for fire rescue paramedics.

Phillip was taken to Largo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

His friends describe him as a loving, funny man who always wanted to make people laugh. 

“Nobody in the world could say anything bad about this man. His thing was just love and laughter and that is all he cared about. All of this is very shocking. Everybody that I told, it was all the same reaction. Nobody could believe it because this guy here, most loving person in the world,” said a friend who didn’t want to be named.

Largo police say they knew a different side of Phillip. 

“He has a total of 22 felony arrests in Florida, 16 misdemeanor arrests and as I’ve mentioned, he’s been to prison twice,” said Lt. Chaney.

Officers say they found a significant amount of marijuana, crack cocaine and cash in Phillip’s car.

His friends say Phillip was trying to get his life in order and had recently gone through bad times. He lost his 1-year-old daughter to cancer and he leaves behind a young son.

“He was definitely a loving person and like I was telling you before, he went through a lot,” said his friend.

Officer Steiner was transported to Morton Plant Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He is now on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.

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