Suspect shot, killed while choking St. Pete officer, detectives say

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A St. Petersburg officer has been placed on routine administrative leave after shooting and killing her attacker Friday night, the sheriff said.

Officer Alison Savarese responded to the French Quarter Condos at 4050 4th Street N. in St. Pete around 9 p.m. after a call about a neighbor dispute.

While investigating, detectives said 55-year-old Jeffrey Haarsma exited the front door of his second-floor residence. Detectives said Savarese climbed the stairs to the second floor to speak with him. When she arrived, Haarsma reportedly walked toward her in an “aggressive manner.”

When the officer attempted to detain the man, he allegedly shoved her backward and a struggle ensued. The two went to the ground while fighting and when they stood up, Haarsma reportedly grabbed Sevarese’s throat and squeezed. The officer said she could not breathe, and also noticed the man was tugging at her belt.

Detectives said the officer feared for her life, so she fired two shots at the man. He was transported to the hospital where he later died.

“I can tell you she does have marks on her neck from where he was choking her and the collar brass on her uniform was ripped off, so it looked like there was a pretty significant struggle that occurred,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Sevarese was placed on routine administrative leave.

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