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Deadly Officer Involved Shooting In St. Pete Prompts Newly Created Task Force

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - St. Petersburg Police are releasing new details in an ongoing investigation involving a deadly officer-involved shooting on Wednesday that left two officers injured and the suspect dead. The Use Of Deadly Force Task Force that was recently established to provide transparency in such cases is now leading the investigation into this incident.

Earlier this year, communities across Pinellas County demanded a task force be created for transparency and accountability when investigating officer involved shootings. In the Thursday press conference, Chief Anthony Holloway of the St. Petersburg Police Department reminded citizens, "Remember, this is what the community asked for and we said we would do this. The agency that is involved in the shooting or use of deadly force will not investigate their own."  Now, that task force has been deployed and new details were released Thursday. "As a police chief, that's one call you don't want to get, saying that one of your officers is down, maybe two. I can tell you that's the longest ride of my life, trying to get there," said Chief Holloway.

Credit: PCSO | CW44 News At 10

The deadly shooting in St. Pete left two officers injured and the suspect dead Wednesday. In October of 2020, police say 20-year-old Dominique Harris was allegedly involved in a child abuse case where he was accused of physically lifting a 15-year-old victim into the air and body-slammed him on a basketball court. According to Chief Holloway, at the time, the 15-year-old victim "was then taken to the hospital where he had bruises to his ribs."

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A team of detectives located and identified Harris on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the St. Pete detectives approached Harris, resulting in his attempt to escape. Investigators say Harris then began shooting at detectives who fired back. Both Harris and a detective were struck.

Thursday, Chief Holloway gave updates on the officer's condition. "He's an experienced veteran here at the police department. I went to the hospital, I visited him yesterday and I've spoken to him today. He's in good spirits, he wants to get back to work," said Chief Holloway.

City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman stated, "On days like yesterday, it doesn't matter what we have accomplished, how safe St. Pete is. How improved the relationship is between our police department and our community. Nobody wants to hear about progress when one person is in the hospital and another is in the morgue."

Credit: PCSO | CW44 News At 10

Back in July, the Pinellas County Sheriff's office created the Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force for transparency. This means an outside party must look into the matter and hold any police officers involved, accountable. "How did the officers get there? How did the shooting happen? How many rounds were fired? And then we will go over the policies and procedures to see what did we do right what did we do wrong and what can we do better," explained Chief Holloway.

In the meantime, city leaders are asking for citizens' support for all parties involved.  "I'm asking you to please say a prayer for officers recovery and for all of those who are hurting and please continue to lift up our city," said Mayor Kriseman.

Chief Holloway tells CW44 News At 10 the St. Pete Police Department was briefed on the investigation but will have no say on the criminal matter or how the investigation will run, stating, "The St. Pete Police Department will continue to work with our community, our community leaders to make sure we can continue to build the bridges that we have built in our community. We ask for everyone to continue to remain calm, wait for the facts to come out that is involved in the shooting."  Officials say they plan to continue working with the community and will release details as soon as they become available.

CW44 News At 10 will provide further updates as they are made available.


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