ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – St. Petersburg Police and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Officers say they are lucky, after a man tried to shoot an officer during a traffic stop, and the bullet just barely missed his head.
23-year-old Austin Kingos, pulled the trigger at two officers on Saturday and is now behind bars facing multiple charges.READ MORE: The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office In Contract With FDOT For Speed Enforcement
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, says “He tried to kill two cops. Two guys who came to work, trying to do the right thing, trying to protect the community, who very, very easily Saturday night could have not gone home.”
It’s something Pinellas County, Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri, says is upsetting to hear.
St. Petersburg Police Chief, Anthony Holloway, says “There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. You saw what happened in that short period of time. I’m very happy both of these officers are going home safely.”
Officials say 23-year-old Austin Kingos suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and recently he had stopped taking his medications.
“He resumed actively using marijuana. At the same time over the last few months, kingos became infatuated with a woman,” said Gualtieri.
Gualtieri says Kingos began sending her unwanted items like a breast pump to her home.READ MORE: Georgia Expands CAPS Child Care Program To Add 10,000 More Children
“And began making comments that he wanted to have a child with her. He even had references to the woman tattooed on his hand,” said Gualtieri.
The woman got a stalking injunction against kingos and after several times of him violating the injunction, officers decided to arrest him at an apartment complex.
“Kingos didn’t immediately produce an I.D. and he was fidgeting around and officer Mckenzie was concerned because of the movements and he couldn’t see his hands,” said Gualtieri.
That’s when officer Ronald Mckenzie opened the driver side door, and Kingos began to kick at him. Another officer arrived to the scene, named Pavel Kuznetsov, and walked up to the driver’s door and that’s when Kingos pulled out a gun and fired at the officers, just barely missing Kuznetsov’s head.
“It was described by Kuznetsov that it literally whizzed by his head. He said he could hear the round whiz my his head, that’s how close it was,” said Gualtieri.
The officers fired back, hitting Kingos in the leg. At that point, officials say Kingos’ gun got jammed, and you can see from this dash camera video, he then jumped out of the car and ran. The officers followed until kingos surrendured, and they put a turnicate on his leg to stop the bleeding.
“The situation also exemplifies the very significant and dangerous challenges that law enforcement officers face daily,” said Gualtieri.MORE NEWS: Ghosts of Ybor City
Kingos is now facing one charge of violation of injunction for protectin and two counts of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer.