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Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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St. Pete officers cleared of criminal wrongdoing in fatal shooting

A state attorney on Thursday cleared four St. Petersburg Police officers of any criminal wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of man who fired shots at them last month.

In a letter to St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon, Pinellas Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe said the officers “were in the lawful performance of their legal duty” when they shot Jason Michael Kerr, 31, in a convenience store parking lot on Oct. 17.

Police originally responded to Hungry Baba’s, 1811 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S., around 11:10 p.m. after receiving a call about a man with a gun.

Witnesses told police that Kerr appeared “nervous” and was sweating profusely while leaving restaurant.

When officers arrived at the restaurant at 11:12 p.m., Kerr was in a white Dodge Caravan and driving onto 18th Avenue South. Officers followed in marked cruisers with their lights on and tried to pull him over.

Kerr then drove into the parking lot of Snax Convenience Store, 1755 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S. He parked the Caravan “somewhat perpendicular” to the officers’ cruisers and then fired, with three bullets hitting two cruisers, police said.

Officers returned fire and hit Kerr, who died before he could be taken to a hospital, police said.

No officers were injured in the shooting.

The officers — Matthew Laliberte, Scott Kirpan, Mark Kruzell and Matthew Stringfellow — remain on administrative duty pending the findings of an internal investigation.

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