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Video: Man shoots into vehicle, points gun at Fla. officers before OIS

The suspect sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting; the officers were not injured

By Emily Wunderlich
Tampa Bay Times

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has released body camera footage of an incident in which a St. Petersburg police officer shot a man in the Childs Park neighborhood on Saturday.

Officer Andre Sousa shot 28-year-old Germaine Davansha Small after Small fired at him with a 9mm pistol loaded with a 50-round drum of ammunition, officials said. Small was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening, and the case is being investigated by the sheriff’s office under the county’s Use of Deadly Force Task Force.

During a news conference Tuesday, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the incident unfolded in about six minutes.

It started at Shadyside food mart, 4200 15 Ave. S., where surveillance footage shows Small walking down the sidewalk around 5:30 p.m. Saturday with a shirt draped over his shoulder. A silver Honda Accord pulls into the driveway of the food mart, and Small turns around and walks up to the car. Small appears to engage with the occupant of the car before a gunshot is heard and the car speeds off.

After the shooting at the food mart, Gualtieri said Small walked south about a block before stopping at a home on the 1600 block of 42nd Street South, where a partially blind 70-year-old man was in his front yard. Small tried to get the man’s attention and fired two rounds at the man, who ran into his home, the sheriff said.

Two shell casings and two bullets were recovered from the scene, Gualtieri said.

After the shooting at the home, Small walked south before turning east on 17th Avenue South, where St. Petersburg police Officer Dale Johnson was parked in the intersection facing south, Gualtieri said. Small walked into the yard of a home, where a woman yelled at him to leave. Small then started walking toward an open lot at 1711 40th St S.

Sousa was eastbound on 17th Avenue South when he saw Small in the open lot, Gualtieri said. When Sousa pulled into the lot, Small ran and pointed the gun at Sousa, dashcam footage shows. Gualtieri said Small fired at Sousa.

Small then ran behind a house and fired another round, Gualtieri said. He then ran around the east side of the house and back to the front, where Sousa saw the gun in Small’s hand and fired 13 rounds at him, bodycam footage shows. Sousa struck Small one time in the head area, and it was “not a penetrating wound,” Gualtieri said. Sousa was about 30 feet away from Small when he fired.

Small ran away and dropped the gun in the driveway before running across 40th Street South, where Johnson and Souza took him into custody. Once Small was on the ground, Sousa switched from his gun to his Taser, the body camera video shows.

Gualtieri said detectives did not know why Small fired at the occupants of the car or the man outside of his house and described it as a random act of violence. He praised the police officers’ response.

“It’s really textbook and it’s a credit to the training that they received by the St. Petersburg Police Department and how they handled themselves in this and taking the guy into custody,” Gualtieri said. “They both did a great job and thankfully neither one of them were injured.”

Even though the shooting is still under investigation, Gualtieri called it “absolutely a justified shooting.”

“They did everything as well as it could be done, and I see no issues or problems with it at all,” he said.

Small was released from the hospital Monday and taken to the Pinellas County Jail on two counts of attempted first-degree murder and felonious possession of a firearm. He had been released from prison in Florida on March 2 after serving nine years for armed robbery.

Gualtieri said it’s possible Small shot someone in the Honda Accord, but officials haven’t received any reports of a gunshot victim. Detectives are seeking the public’s help locating the occupants of the vehicle. Gualtieri described it as a newer model with a black antenna on top and “distinctive wheels.” Anyone with information can call Cpl. Roberto Sosa at 727-582-6161.

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