Knife-wielding man shot by St. Pete police

St. Petersburg police said were forced to open fire on a man Tuesday afternoon after officers said he came toward them with a large knife. 

The man is in critical condition at a local hospital, according to police.

Concerned and scared, a resident on 27th Avenue North called police just before 1 p.m. Tuesday.

“When the neighbors called in, they said the guy was walking around with the knife, waving it around,” said St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

Officers were told the man was pacing the block, clearly holding a large blade.

“Appeared to be like a 10-inch knife, even the person who called it in said it appeared to be a 10-inch knife. She could see it from her house and the guy was on the street,” Holloway said.

When officers got to the scene, the man had walked up the ramp and was on the pedestrian walkway that spans Interstate 275.  Police strategically blocked both exits, then called in the hostage negotiation team.

“They gave a couple commands in English. It appeared maybe the suspect didn’t understand the commands, so they also asked for a Hispanic officer to arrive on the scene,” said Holloway. “The Hispanic officer arrived on the scene, started speaking Spanish, it appeared he didn’t know what the officer was saying or wasn’t following the commands on that.”

Investigators said the man was still waving the knife and ignoring their demands, so they were forced to take action.

“The less lethal that was used was a pepper ball round and also a bean bag round, and none of those were able to stop the suspect,” explained Holloway.  “He continued to move toward the officers and that’s when they had to discharge the weapon.”

So far, investigators have not released the name of the man who was shot, or the officer who opened fire.