Pinellas Deputies Were Justified in Shooting, Killing Suspect, State Attorney Says
The man fired a semi-automatic handgun at Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies.
PINELLAS COUNTY – Six Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies were justified when they shot and killed a man who pointed and fired a semi-automatic weapon at them, an investigation has concluded.
“As a result of our investigation, I have determined that Lt. Steven Wagner, Sgt. Frank Holloway IV, Cpl. Kevin Grissinger, Deputy Jason Willis , Deputy Thomas Akin, and Deputy Clay Saunders were in the performance of their legal duties when Richard Xavier Summers defied their commands and suddenly exited from his vehicle, pointing and firing a semiautomatic firearm in their directions, committing the forcible felony of attempted murder of law enforcement officers. Each stated deputy was in justifiable fear that they or the other deputies would suffer great bodily harm or death had they not fired their weapons.
“Therefore, it is the conclusion of the State Attorney’s Office that the death of Richard Xavier Summers was justifiable homicide,” Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe wrote in a letter Wednesday (June 7).
McCabe was referring to an April 6 incident in which Mr. Summers, 48, of Tarpon Springs, was shot and killed. Deputies said he was wanted for failure to appear on a felony fraud criminal charge out of Hillsborough County. Deputies said Mr. Summers had an extensive criminal history that included drug trafficking and they were told that he was known to carry a firearm.No deputies were injured. An autopsy showed that Mr. Summers had 20 gunshot wounds.
They said they found him April 6 riding in an Uber driver vehicle. He went to a Wells Fargo bank where he withdrew funds, then got back in the Uber vehicle. Deputies used lights and sirens to get the Uber driver, Sheldon Burke, to pull his Kia off the road. Burke did as requested, pulling into the parking lot at the Wing House, 7369 Ulmerton Road in Largo.
“The deputies pulled in behind and around the vehicle and immediately ordered both occupants to put their hands on the windshield,” McCabe wrote. “Mr. Burke immediately complied with the commands, but Richard Xavier Summers did not comply and made furtive movements, including reaching into and around the glove box and underneath the seat. Multiple police officers made multiple commands to put his hands up towards the windshield. Xavier Summers abruptly opened the passenger door and exited quickly with a black .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun pointed in the direction of deputies.
“Each of the six deputies from the Violent Offenders and Warrants Unit, in fear for their own safety, as well as fellow officers ‘ safety, immediately shot Richard Xavier Summers multiple times when he refused to comply with the police commands and pointed and fired his firearm at the deputies, as he remained on his feet before succumbing to the deputies’ gunfire.”
Burke, said McCabe, heard Mr. Summers state, “I am not going down. They are not going to get me.”
For information about the Pinellas sheriff, go to pcsoweb.com.
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