Officer Shot in Self Defense, Largo Police Say
The Largo Police Department said drugs and cash were found in the car of a man an officer shot and killed. An attorney representing the family of the dead man said he had no history of violence.
LARGO – An officer who shot and killed a man during a traffic stop Friday (March 23) fired in self defense, according to the Largo Police Department.
Linus F. Phillip, 30, was pronounced dead at Largo Medical Center where he was taken after the shooting. The officer, Matthew Steiner, a seven-year veteran of the department, was treated and released from Morton Plant Hospital.
Largo police said that Mr. Phillip was shot when he tried to flee from officers in his car, dragging Steiner, who was half in and half out of the vehicle.
John Trevena, a Largo attorney representing Mr. Phillips’ family, said he knows the family.
“This is highly uncharacteristic for this man,” Trevena said. Trevena declined further comment until he sees videos of the incident.
According to Largo police, Steiner and Offcer Prentice Ables were on patrol about 5:55 p.m. Friday when they noticed a Nissan Altima with illegally tinted windows. They spoke with Mr. Phillip, the driver, at the Wawa, 1215 N Missouri Ave. Police said one witness described the conversation as “polite” on the part of the officers.
While standing near Mr. Phillip’s car, the officers said they smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. As they tried to detain Mr. Phillip, he jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to flee.
Ables managed to move away from the car. But, officers said, Steiner was trapped half-in and half-out of the car as Mr. Phillip put the vehicle in reverse and accelerated. The driver’s door was open and the concrete bollards were near.
As he was being dragged, Steiner fired his duty weapon in self-defense. Police said he was able to fall free from the driver’s compartment and passed beneath the driver’s door, which brushed him. Police said Steiner narrowly avoiding being run over as the car continued backward and slammed into the bollards.
After striking another car and hitting more bollards, the car came to rest between the rows of gas pumps. Both officers and responding back-ups provided medical aid to Mr. Phillip and called for paramedics.
Police said Mr. Phillip twice served stints in prison for sale and possession of cocaine and methamphetamine. Mr. Phillip was out of prison on early inmate release. Police said he has previous arrests on charges of habitual driving with license suspended or revoked, fleeing and eluding, tampering with evidence, and trafficking in methamphetamine. They said that, on Friday, a “significant” amount of crack cocaine, powdered cocaine, marijuana,and cash were found in Mr. Phillip’s car.
Largo Police | Officer-Involved Shooting | Linus Phillip | John Trevena | Tampabay News
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