Marquis Golden

The January shooting death of a St. Petersburg man who fired an assault rifle at a Pinellas sheriff’s deputy has been ruled justifiable by the state attorney’s office.

Marquis Golden, 29, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with Deputy Richard Curry Jr. on Jan. 23 in an alley of the 2200 block between 35th Street S. and 36th Street S. in St. Petersburg. The Sheriff’s Office said Golden, armed with an AR-15 rifle, and Delvin J. Ford, armed with a .40-caliber handgun, fired multiple rounds at Curry as he ran for cover after being approached in his car.

“I have determined that (Curry) was in the lawful performance of his legal duties when he discharged his weapon at Marquis Golden and Delvin Ford,” said Bernie McCabe, State Attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit of Florida covering Pasco and Pinellas counties, in a letter to Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri dated March 4. Golden’s and Ford’s actions “constituted the offenses of aggravated assault and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer,” McCabe said. “Deputy Richard Curry had reason to believe that Marquis Golden and Delvin Ford posed a danger of great bodily harm or death to him when he fired his weapon.”

The incident began in Clearwater when an officer there noticed a Lexus traveling erratically at Harn Boulevard and U.S. 19. The vehicle fled south on U.S. 19, and the officer did not pursue.

A few minutes later, a Largo police officer saw the same vehicle and attempted to stop it at U.S. 19 and Whitney Road. Again, the driver did not stop and fled east on Roosevelt Boulevard. That officer also did not pursue.

The Lexus was registered to a residence on 36th Street S. in St. Petersburg, so the Clearwater police officer contacted fellow officers working with sheriff’s deputies on the Violent Crimes Task Force, which was working in that area.

The task force set up surveillance and Curry parked his unmarked car in the alley near the residence.

According to a Sheriff’s Office account, Curry was dressed in a law enforcement uniform that clearly identified him as a deputy sheriff. A man approached the vehicle and looked through the windshield to view the driver; Curry rolled his driver’s window down and identified himself as a deputy. The man acknowledged Curry as a deputy and went to the residence.

Detectives say moments later, the same person and a second male left the residence and approached Curry’s vehicle with guns pointed at his car. Curry left his vehicle and exchanged gunfire with the men.

Deputies discovered Golden at the rear of the residence with multiple gunshot wounds. He died at the scene.

A Clearwater police K9 unit tracked Ford to the roof of a nearby residence. He was taken into custody and faces charges of second-degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm. Florida law allows those participating in a crime that results in death to be charged with murder.

Curry was not injured.

Both Golden and Ford have lengthy criminal histories.