It started out as a hit-and-run on a Florida street. Soon came violence, cops say

Matt Rourke/AP

A hit-and-run investigation took a tragic twist in St. Petersburg, Florida, over the weekend.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, police responded at 3:45 a.m. Sunday to a report of a hit-and-run just outside downtown.

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According to detectives, a car had hit a parked car. The bumper of the suspect’s vehicle was left behind, with the license plate still attached.

When police ran the tag, they went to the registered address, where no one answered the door.

After several failed attempts to reach anyone inside the house, cops tracked down the car’s registered owner, Mary Spanoudis, who lives at a local nursing home.

The car’s owner “expressed concern” about the well-being of her son, 63-year-old son, Gus Spanoudis, and asked them to check on him at a residence.

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At around 6 a.m., police and firefighters forced entry into the home, and found her son making suicidal statements while sitting in a chair in the back bedroom, said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri in a news conference a few hours later.

Suddenly, things took a violent turn.

“At some point, he produced a gun,” Gualtieri said, adding the type of weapon was still unknown. “He had it someplace either tucked down in the chair or someplace.”

St. Pete officer Jace Morrow issued several commands to drop the firearm before firing at Spanoudis, the sheriff said.

A picture with the official news release shows a large revolver laid out on a couch, among other household items such as a plate, moisturizer, air freshener and vitamins.

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The suspect was taken to the hospital where he died. It is unclear if he was the one driving the car that hit the vehicle; two other men were at the home as well, the sheriff’s office said.

The shooting by the St. Petersburg police officer has been assigned to the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force, Gualtieri said.

The task force “was created to ensure the investigations conducted into law enforcement use of deadly force are thorough, complete, and objective,” said the agency, adding Officer Morrow will be placed on “no duty status.”

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