Should St. Pete Cops Have Pursued Fugitive In Attic?


A fugitive with a violent history is holed up in an attic with a gun. What’s the next step for law enforcement, asks the St. Petersburg Times. Monday in St. Petersburg, the decision was made to go after the guy. In what police Chief Chuck Harmon called an ambush, two police officers were killed and a deputy U.S. marshal wounded. As the community grieves, many are asking difficult and sensitive questions about the tragedy — questions echoed by veteran police officers and tactical experts:

Why didn’t officers call in the SWAT team and a negotiator and wait? The decision to go into the attic was a brave one, but was it the best one? “I would have backed out, sealed it up, nobody in, nobody out, and notified the SWAT team,” said Jon Shane, a former supervisor on the Newark, N.J., police SWAT team. St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt dismissed outside criticism. “I think it’s very misleading for so-called experts to render an opinion without specific knowledge of the facts in this situation,” he said.

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