TREASURE ISLAND – Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies killed a man about 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, after he charged them with a knife while they were trying to serve an arrest warrant.
According to a report from the sheriff’s office, Gregory J. Johns, 42, last known address Safety Harbor, was wanted for sexual battery of an 11-year-old girl. St. Petersburg Police also wanted Johns for false imprisonment of a 78-year-old woman on Aug. 28 and the robbery of a couple at knifepoint in Vinoy Park on Aug. 29.
According to detectives with the Crimes Against Children, the girl began complaining about stomach pains and was taken to a local hospital during the late hours Aug. 27 by her mother and Johns, her mother's live-in boyfriend.
During the early morning hours of Aug. 28, it was determined that the girl was pregnant. When Johns found out, he was visibly upset, detectives said. He asked the girl's mother for the car keys to go get some cigarettes. He fled the hospital and did not return.
The crime was reported to law enforcement and detectives from the Crimes Against Children Unit began an investigation Aug. 28. Through their investigation detectives learned that the suspect had sexually battered the girl on as many as three occasions in June.
Detectives began searching for the suspect and obtained an arrest warrant for capital sexual battery on a child under 12.
During the early morning hours of Sept. 1, detectives received information that Johns was at a hotel along the beach on Gulf Boulevard between the Madeira Beach Causeway and Central Avenue.
Deputies went to every hotel along the stretch searching for the suspect. He was finally located at the very last hotel checked, The Trails End Motel, 11500 Gulf Blvd. in Treasure Island.
Deputies isolated and approached the door to room 224. Based on the arrest warrant, deputies knocked at the door and issued commands for the suspect to exit the room. The suspect refused to comply with any commands issued.
Deputies used entry tools to make a forceful entry into the room. Deputies say that once inside, Johns had retreated and locked himself in the bathroom. As deputies were about to make entry into the bathroom, the suspect charged the deputies with a knife. Two deputies, Claudio Dimundo, 30, and Eric Turner, 34, opened fire on the suspect. The suspect is dead.
As is standard procedure in deputy-involved shootings, Dimundo and Turner have been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted. Dimundo was hired by the sheriff’s office on Jan 22, 2007 and Turner was hired Aug. 24, 2009.