On Wednesday, December 2 at 4:15 p.m. St. Petersburg Police Officers were involved in the fatal shooting of Dominique Harris, 20, as Harris evaded arrest and shot at police officers.
According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualiteri, SPPD Special Investigation Unit officers were conducting an investigation at Food Max convenience store on 18th Avenue South near 14th Street. Officers received a tip that Harris was in the area.
Harris had a warrant out for his arrest for Felony Child Abuse for alledgedly body slamming a 15-year-old male during a basketball court altercation in late October; he was positively identified by police while leaving the food mart’s parking lot.
According to police, as Harris tried to drive away to evade arrest, police broke the driver’s side front window and blocked him in with their vehicles.
Harris then used his car to ram into police vehicles, a cement bollard in front of the food mart and another car nearby. After that, PCSO reports that Harris began shooting at police officers.
The initial investigation suggests at least five or six officers fired their weapons during the shootout, hitting Harris multiple times and killing him, according to Gualtieri.
One officer was hit in the lower torso. Another suffered a minor injury to the leg and a possible concussion during the commotion.
Gualtieri said the officer who was shot suffered a non-life-threatening wound and is in stable condition after emergency surgery at Bayfront Hospital.
Because it involved lethal force by police, the County Use of Force Investigative Task Force will investigate the incident.
Gualiteri confirmed on Thursday, December 3 that five Special Investigations Unit detectives and one officer were involved in the incident. Four of the six individuals had been involved in previous firearm discharges, which were ruled justified.
At 1 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and SPPD Chief Anthony Halloway held a press conference in front of the SPPD building.
“The Use of Deadly Force Task Force was formed to show that we are being very transparent and accountable to the citizens of St. Petersburg,” said Halloway. “The Sheriff, the Task Force and the State Attorney’s office will investigate the criminal matter involved in the shooting with Mr. Harris.”
According to Halloway, the SPPD will also examine their policies and procedures “to see if there were any violations that were done during the shooting” after they receive information from the PCSO.
The officers involved in this shooting will be placed on paid administrative leave as is standard under St. Petersburg Police Department policy, according to SPPD.