The fatal shooting of a man with a gun by two Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies has been ruled justified by the state attorney’s office.
In a letter to the Sheriff’s Office, Attorney General Bruce Bartlett summarized a St. Petersburg Police Department investigation into the October 4 shooting of Chad Allen Jenkins, 50.
Jenkins retrieved a 9mm Taurus pistol from his vehicle’s glove compartment and pointed it at lawmakers as they attempted to arrest him for child abuse and domestic violence, the letter said.
One deputy opened fire with a rifle, the other with a pistol, fatally injuring Jenkins. A hole in the ceiling of the vehicle also indicated that Jenkins had fired his gun.
The deputies, identified as Cpl. Casey Hunter and Deputy Derric Gandee-Lunsford were trying to stop Jenkins after a 911 caller said he hit his ex-girlfriend and son as the boy tried to stop the beating.
Witnesses and doorbell cameras have revealed Jenkins was making suicidal statements after the attack. He also suggested cop suicide, according to the letter. The ex-girlfriend warned MPs that a hazard protection order prohibiting Jenkins from owning a gun had expired and he would likely be armed.
The ex-girlfriend, who has not been named, has also alerted police to Jenkins’ mental health issues. He was known to have sudden mood swings and had been abusive throughout their relationship, according to the letter.
On the day of the shooting, a Monday, Jenkins visited the ex-girlfriend’s home twice, once at 6 p.m. and another three hours later when the attack took place. Subsequently, he texted her saying that “this was the end of him” and that she should not call 911.
The woman told investigators that Jenkins had said on several occasions in the past that he would kill himself or attempt to kill himself by a police officer before handing his guns over to authorities again.
MPs hatched a plan for a safe arrest at Jenkins’ home, which was foiled when Jenkins got out and got into his car. Moments later, he was confronted by Hunter.
Hunter approached Jenkins’ vehicle with a rifle up and ready. He ordered Jenkins to stand still, but Jenkins reached the glovebox, according to the letter. Moments later, Hunter saw a pistol in Jenkins’ hand pointed at him.
Hunter opened fire first and Deputy Gandee-Lunsford followed, firing his pistol after hitting the car. Jenkins was shot six times, according to an autopsy report. He received first aid but died instantly. The deputies were not injured.
One shot had been fired from the pistol in Jenkins’ hand and it contained 11 other shots. A second handgun, a Smith and Wesson .380, was found in his pocket and contained seven rounds.
Bodycam footage verified MPs’ statements about the shooting, according to the letter.
The St. Petersburg Police Department will continue to investigate the shooting through the Pinellas County Lethal Force Investigation Task Force.
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Law enforcement agencies no longer investigate their own officers in use of force incidents. The working group was formed in 2020 by a consortium of local agencies.