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Pamela Kirk identified as woman shot by St. Petersburg Police Officer

7:20 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, FL -- There's new information in Sunday night's shooting that left a St. Petersburg woman dead, and a police officer on paid leave.

It may come down to something we've heard a lot about lately: mental health and guns.

It all started as a welfare check. A neighbor asked police to look-in on 53-year-old Pamela Kirk. Sadly, it instead led to a deadly confrontation between Kirk and the officers who responded.

Relatives say they'll wait to hear from detectives, but they want answers.

So far, police know this:

Officers went to Kirk's home on 13th Avenue North just after 8 p.m., after neighbor Donna Colber expressed concern about Kirk's well-being.

But detectives say Officer Chris Dolch, who went around to the back door, fired when Kirk suddenly pulled back a window curtain and, "pointed a silver Smith & Wesson .38 Special at the officer. He unholstered his weapon and fired three times," said department spokesman Bill Proffitt.

Police say Kirk has a history of mental issues.

In four instances since 2010 they'd taken her into custody under the Baker Act for exhibiting behavior dangerous to herself or others. In another incident in February 2011, they also took possession of three guns belonging to Kirk.

"I don't know why they gave it back, but she demanded it back and they gave it to her," said neighbor Robert Prince.

With no crime committed, police say Kirk was entitled to her firearms.

Prince says Kirk asked him to help her retrieve them, which he did... and now regrets.

"She wasn't allowed to drive so I drove her down to the police station to get her gun," said Prince. "I could have told her my car broke down or something, but I can't tell lies either."

Investigators say the officers who responded to the house were aware of previous responses to Kirk's home, and that one of them had even been present on one of those previous calls.

Officer Dolch, who has been on the force since December 2006, has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of both the department and Pinellas State Attorney's office investigation.

"A lot of times those calls have a happy ending," said Proffitt, "It's just when there's a gun involved -- and a gun is pointed at a police officer -- then everything changes."

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