Suspect Tried to Pull 9mm Gun on Officer, Police Say

St. Petersburg Police say the suspect took off on foot after slamming his Nissan into a police vehicle.

A 22-year-old convicted felon is back in jail today, after allegedly slamming his Nisaan into a police car, fleeing the scene on foot, and attempting to pull a gun on the officer who apprehended him.

Preston Bernard Johns, 22, of St. Petersburg, faces charges that include Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting Arrest with Violence, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injuries.

Police say the incident began Tuesday night at about 10:45 p.m.,  when a 2011 Nissan VRS driven by Johns struck a St. Petersburg Police cruiser at the intersection of 39 Avenue South and 6th Street.  

The Nissan had been speeding north on 6th Street, with its lights out, police said. It slammed into a police cruiser as it turned left onto 39th Avenue South.

Officer Lisa Gaskins, 30, who was operating the cruiser, called for assistance
and was later transported to Edward White Hospital with minor injuries.

But Johns fled from his car. A K-9 Unit responded to the area and began to track Johns. The suspect was spotted fleeing west into Lake Maggiore Park, in the 3800 block of Dr. MLK Street South.

Acting Sergeant Kevin Sullivan, 37, chased Johns on foot, eventually tackling
him to the ground.

The suspect pulled out a 9mm automatic pistol from his waist band. Acting Sergeant Sullivan was able to disarm Johns and take him to custody, police said.

At the time of this incident Johns was on felony probation for Armed Robbery
and had several prior arrests for Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer


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