TARPON SPRINGS (FOX 13) - The Tarpon Springs police chief wants to set the record straight regarding an officer-involved shooting.
Saturday, 25-year-old Nicholas Provenza was shot and killed after an officer said Provenza came at him with a knife.
Since then, the chief says speculation, rumors, and even threats have circulated on social media. A memorial at the corner of Tarpon and Safford avenues grows by the minute, with poems, pictures, and mementos of Provenza.
Those who knew him, say violence was not in his blood. But the police chief says it is a fact that Provenza had a weapon on him, and that threats toward law enforcement will not be tolerated.
“I don't care who was right, I don't care who was wrong, a life was lost,” Provenza’s friend, Kaitlyn Morera said.
Those who knew Nicholas Provenza say he lived a life of peace. What they're feeling now is the opposite.
Saturday, at a charity car show, an off-duty Tarpon Springs officer was advised about a man on a bike acting suspiciously. The officer said Provenza gave him a fake name. Then, seconds later, the officer said Provenza came at him with a knife, so the officer shot him.
Anger and speculation have since boiled over on social media. Some claiming Provenza wasn't armed.
But Tarpon Springs Chief of Police Robert Kochen says the rumor mill needs to stop while FDLE investigates what happened.
“It is to be noted that the weapon used by the subject was recovered and was entered into evidence as part of the investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,” Chief Kochen said.
There have also been threats toward a sergeant and his family after his name was posted as the shooter. But the chief says those posts had the wrong name.
Scott Macisaac was identified as the officer who shot Provenza. Macisaac, who's been with the department since 2011, is on administrative leave with pay.
Friends and family say they plan to fight for answers and justice until they know what really happened.
“His soul was beautiful, pure. There's not another Nicholas Anthony Provenza on this earth and it's a damn shame that his life was ripped away from him like that,” Provenza's fiancée Rebecca Schnell said.
Friends and family are planning a "Peaceful Protest for Provenza" this Saturday at the location where he was shot.