An undercover St. Petersburg Police Officer shot and killed an armed robber at a 7-Eleven store in St. Pete on Nov. 6.
Today, Pinellas Pasco State Attorney, Bernie McCabe sent a letter to Chief of Police Chuck Harmon stating that the shooting was "justifiable."
“As a result of the investigation conducted by this office, I have determined that (the detective) was in lawful performance of his legal duty when he responded to the scene of an armed robbery in progress. When Lamont Burgess pointed the shotgun at (the detective), (the detective) had reason to believe that his and the lives of other St. Petersburg Police Department officers were in danger. Therefore, it is the conclusion of the State Attorney’s Office that the death of Lamont Burges was the result of having been shot by (the detective) in the legal performance of his duty, and the shooting was justifiable.”
On Nov. 6, according to police reports, Lamont Burgess, 36, was fatally shot around 1:30 a.m. outside a 7-Eleven. A second suspect, 20-year-old Ebony C. Oliver was also arrested.
Detectives believe that Burgess and Lamont may have been staying at a local
motel together prior to the robbery.
The police report stated the detective shot Burgess after he feared Burgess was in position to shoot the detective and other officer with his loaded shotgun. The detective, according to the report, shot Burgess again while he was on the ground after he thought Burgess was reaching for another gun in his waistband.
According to police, the St. Petersburg Police Department's Internal Affairs Division is still conducting an administrative investigation to determine if there were any violations of Department policy in this case.
Harmon will convene a Shooting Review Board once the Internal Affairs' investigation is complete and will release a memorandum at that time with his review and findings.
The Undercover Surveillance Detective will remain on administrative duty until the Internal Affairs case is complete.
In the letter to Harmon, McCabe described the events on Nov. 6:
"Two persons entered the 7-Eleven store with their faces covered to commit a robbery. Lamont Burgees, had a shotgun; and the other Ebony Olive, had a knife. Oliver entered the store and grabbed Sharon Jenkins, the female clerk, and held a knife to her throat. Burgess racked the shotgun and aggressively yelled commands to the male clerk. Burgess held the shotgun on the clerks and demanded money. Oliver threatened to kill (the female clerk if she did no open the cash drawer. The (male clerk) eventually opened the cash drawers and gave the robbers money and stamps.
Burgess and Olive ran out of the store, running south in front of the store as numerous undercover vehicles pulled into the 7-eleven parking lot. The undercover officers identified themselves, commanded the suspects to halt and activated their emergency lights. Burgess and Oliver continued to run south and turned east towards the rear of the store where an alley north and south. St. Petersburg Police Department undercover officers continued to pursue the robbers.
… Other detectives that had pulled up to he armed robbery in progress had continuously yelled commands for the fleeing suspects to stop and get on the ground. During the chase, Burgess began to level the shotgun over his should and pointed directly in the direction of (a detective). (A detective) feared that Burgess was aiming the shotgun in his direction and would have an easy opportunity to fire the shotgun and kill him. (The detective) also feared for the safety of other officer who were converging on the area and coming around the opposite side of the building directly into the path of the fleeing, shotgun-toting Burgess.
The (detective) used his department-issued firearm and fired several times at the fleeing subject. Burgess fell to the ground and the shotgun went out of his hands, skidding across the alley near the fallen body … As (the detective) approached, he observed Burgess reaching into his waist area with his hands. Fearing that Burgess was attempting to get another firearm, the (detective) discharged the firearm again, striking Burgess.”