ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A 23-year-old man is now facing several charges after law enforcement officials say he shot at two St. Petersburg police officers Saturday afternoon.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the officers were looking for Austin Kingos just after 3:30 p.m., who had probable cause for his arrest on a misdemeanor charge of violation of injunction for stalking.
Investigators say Officer Ronald McKenzie and Officer Pavel Kuznetsov arrived at 10790 3rd Street North, found Kingos in a car, and tried talking with him. Both officers were in marked cruisers with their emergency lights on and were in uniform.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said as the officers made contact with Kingos, they identified themselves and tried taking Kingos into custody.
Deputies say a struggle ensued and Kingos pulled a semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and fired at the officers. He then fled on foot.
*VIDEO SHERIFF GUALTIERI’S FULL PRESS CONFERENCE IN THE VIDEO PLAYER BELOW*
“This is very reminiscent of what Daytona Beach is experiencing and we’re very lucky because Officer Kuznetsov literally heard the round whiz by the side of his head,” Gualtieri said. “Why he had the semi-automatic and why he decided over something like that that he was going to try to kill a cop… beyond me.”
During a press conference, Gualtieri said Officer McKenzie fired his gun at Kingos and both officers began chasing after him.
The sheriff said the officers continued to ask Kingos to stop and drop his gun. He eventually dropped his gun and was taken into custody by the officers at 108th Avenue and 4th Street.
Kingo was shot once in his left leg, according to deputies. The officers help provide first aid to Kingos until paramedics arrived. He was taken to a local hospital and his injuries are non-life-threatening.
The officers were not injured.
“This really makes you think about these men and women (who) put their lives on the line every day and within an instant, they could lose their life,” said St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway.
Kingos will be taken to the Pinellas County Jail once he has been treated for his injuries and will be charged with one count violation of injunction for protection and two counts of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer.
The incident will now be investigated by the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force, which was created to ensure the investigations conducted into law enforcement use of deadly force are thorough, complete, and objective.
The officer involved in this shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave as is standard under St. Petersburg Police Department policy.