State legal professional: Lethal officer-involved capturing ‘justifiable’

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State attorney: Deadly officer-involved shooting 'justifiable'

Dominque Harris was shot dead on December 2nd after shooting a police officer in St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The use of lethal force against St. Petersburg officials deployed in St. Petersburg on December 2 has been classified by prosecutors as “justified murder,” the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri relayed the news in a report to St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway. The sheriff’s office conducted the investigation under the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force protocols established last year.

According to the report, on December 2, 2020, undercover agents with the St. Petersburg Police Special Investigation Unit tried to track down 20-year-old Dominque Harris, who was wanted for child molestation.

Detectives found Harris in an apartment complex he was known to live in and found a car parked there with a license plate corresponding to the number they were given regarding Harris, the report said.

According to the report, detectives saw two men, later identified as Harris and a friend, leave the apartment complex and get into the car. However, detectives say they were unable to unambiguously identify either person at the time, according to the report. Detectives then followed the car to Food Max at 1400 18th Ave. S.

Once at Food Max, the report said Harris and his friend went to the store. A witness reportedly told Detectives that she saw a gun tucked into Harris’ waistband while he was in the store. According to the report, in-store video surveillance confirmed the witness’s testimony. Based on the witness’s description of the gun and the video, the report states that it is the same gun that Harris used to shoot the undercover detective that night.

The report says Harris’ friend stayed in the store while he returned to the car and got into the driver’s seat. Undercover detectives report that they still haven’t been able to clearly identify Harris as the person in the driver’s seat. So they called in uniformed officers to help with identification.

According to the report, two officers in tagged police cars made contact with Harris for about a minute. According to the report, officials refused when they asked Harris to get out of the car because he was arrested for child molestation. The report then states that Harris raised his window and put it into reverse, which resulted in one of the uniformed officers trying to use his baton to break Harris’ driver’s side window.

A witness says she heard officials tell Harris to “get out of the car,” the report said.

The report says witnesses and video confirm that Harris “intentionally” turned his car over and pulled into the passenger side of a uniformed officer’s patrol car. Then he started his car and accelerated, hit a concrete barrier and tore it out of the ground. Then he turned back, freed himself from the concrete pole and tried to leave the parking lot.

The report goes on to undercover agents who tried to get Harris into the Food Max parking lot in their cars.

Then an undercover detective got out of his car and was “just yards” from Harris’ driver’s door. The report says that Harris pointed his gun through the window and shot the undercover detective several times. This detective returned fire, the report says. The detective was taken to the hospital and operated on for three through and through gunshot wounds. he continues to recover.

Another undercover detective injured his knee during the shooting, but was not shot and released from hospital.

In response to Harris shooting at the undercover detective, the report said that the remaining undercover detectives and an officer opened fire. The report says that when detectives fired at Harris, he lay down in the front seat. He reportedly continued to fire at officers and “remained a threat”, lying down several times while officers continued to return fire.

According to the report, a total of six officers shot Harris 48 times. However, according to the report, investigators do not know how many shots have hit Harris as the autopsy report is still unavailable.

The entire shootout lasted approximately 45 seconds, with the majority of the shots being fired in the first 19 seconds, the report said.

The report concluded that, based on the evidence, Harris resisted the child molestation arrest and had committed multiple crimes, including the attempted murder of a police officer while trying to escape the officers on December 2. tried “to murder an undercover detective and” in legitimate fear for their lives and the lives of other “six officers” who duly and lawfully shot and killed “Harris”.

Part of the report describes aspects of Harris’ criminal record and previous interactions with law enforcement agencies. According to the report, Harris had been arrested multiple times and was a documented gang member.

You can read the full report here.

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