SAFETY HARBOR — Three Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies that shot and killed a man Aug. 3, who was wanted in connection with the murder of his mother, were “in lawful performance of their duties,” according to a Sept. 16 letter from the State Attorney’s Office.
State Attorney Bernie McCabe concluded in a letter that was sent to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri Sept. 20, "As a result of our investigation conducted by my office, I have determined that Deputies Brennan Wede, Brian Williams, and Christopher Amatruda were in the lawful performance of their legal duties when they discharged their weapons at John Julian Clark.”
McCabe also wrote that Clark's actions of "failing to respond to commands to stop his vehicle and raising his shotgun within the vehicle contrary to the deputies' lawful commands, gave them grounds to reasonably believe that they were in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death when they fired their weapons."
The State Attorney's Office has concluded that Clark’s death was a justifiable homicide pursuant to Sections 776.012 and 775.05, Florida Statutes.
Clark, 35, of Safety Harbor died at a Tampa hospital Aug. 3 after he was shot by Williams, 37, Wede, 26, and Amatruda, 33, who said they were in fear for their lives when he pointed a shotgun at them.
Deputies went to a residence on Flanders Way in Safety Harbor about 2:27 a.m. Aug. 3 for a welfare check after receiving a call from an unidentified person in Illinois, who said Clark had called and told him he had shot his mother and didn’t want to go to jail.
When deputies arrived at the home, they found Susan Clark, 64, dead inside from an apparent gunshot wound.
Clark also is accused of killing Michael Robinson, 54, of Clearwater at his home on Sabal Springs Circle the same day. A wallet belonging to Robinson was found in Clark’s vehicle.
While deputies were having a briefing near the home, about 4:20 a.m., Clark was spotted driving his mother’s car, a blue 2012 Volkswagen Eos, near the crime scene.
Deputies activated their emergency lights and sirens and tried to stop the Volkswagen, but Clark refused to stop and turned westbound onto Baldwin Avenue from Beacon Place Drive, towards the crime scene.
At a press conference later that day, Gualtieri said deputies and detectives standing in the roadway yelled at Clark, telling him to stop, but the man kept driving slowly through the crime scene near Flanders Way.
Deputies came up to the vehicle on the passenger side of the Volkswagen, and continued to order him to stop, Gualtieri said. They noticed that he had a shotgun on his lap.
“They were telling him drop the gun, stop the car, drop the gun, stop the car, but he did neither,” Gualtieri said.
The sheriff said at one point, Clark took the 12-gauge shotgun from between his legs and pointed it at the passenger side of the car where deputies were standing, at which time deputies fired at the man.
After he was shot, Clark was removed from the vehicle and given first aid until paramedics arrived. He was then taken to St. Joseph's Hospital where he died about 5:10 a.m.
Wede, a five-year employee of the sheriff’s office, Williams, who has been with the sheriff’s office nearly 14 years, and Amatruda, a three-year employee were placed on paid administrative leave, as is routine in shooting cases.