ST. PETERSBURG — Detectives assigned to the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred Oct. 20 in the city of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg police officers responded to an area of Wildwood Park, 1000 28th St. S., to investigate reports of a domestic dispute between and man and woman. The caller reported that the man had a gun and was trying to take the woman’s phone away from her.
Detectives say when officers made contract with the woman, they were able to “develop” charges on the man for battery. The man fled on foot running eastbound from Wildwood Park to 13th Avenue South.
St. Petersburg K-9 Officer Leighton Williams, 29, saw the suspect, identified as Christopher Deon Tonsel, 17, of St. Petersburg run between two homes into an alley way.
Detectives say Officer Williams exited his patrol car with his K-9 to try to find Tonsel, who hid in the area of 2488 13th Ave. S.
Officer Williams found Tonsel and reportedly told him several times to drop the firearm. Police say Tonsel reached for the firearm and began to point it toward Officer Williams. Officer Williams then fired one time and struck Tonsel once in the abdomen area. Tonsel was transported to Bayfront Hospital in critical condition.
Police say Tonsel is also the suspect of an armed robbery on a 10-year-old and 15-year-old that occurred Oct. 17.
The sheriff’s office announced Oct. 22 that Tonsel had been charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by person under age of 18 and battery (dating violence).
The Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Taskforce was created in 2020. The purpose of this taskforce is to make sure that officer-involved shootings in Pinellas County are investigated by an independent agency and not by the agency involved in the use of deadly force.
Officer Williams was placed on routine administrative leave. He was hired on April 14, 2014.
Revised to add Tonsel's charges.