Pinellas Co. deputies fatally shoot knife-wielding man

Pinellas County deputies respond to disturbance with shooting

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Deputies showed up to a house where a domestic disturbance had been reported at 5198 64th St. N. in St. Petersburg around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

At arrival, deputies observed 49-year-old John F. Zemola crashing into his wife's car with his pick-up truck, taking down a front pillar of the house in his path, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Zemola has known mental health issues and was noticeably angry when his wife, 45-year-old Cammy J. Zemola, arrived home after being out with friends. He was in the process of wrecking the house and was drinking after being sober for a year, according to deputies.

When John noticed the deputies, investigators say he backed up his truck onto 64th St., where it was disabled. He reportedly jumped out of the vehicle and came towards deputies with a knife in his hand. Deputies tried to calm the situation and told him to drop the knife, but he responded with, "You're going to have to kill me."

Deputies tried to keep away, but shot him when he was about three to five feet away. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Sheriff Gualtieri held a press conference and released the following statement on the incident:

"We are very fortunate that the deputies are safe and that they were able to do what they did to protect themselves because he was clearly coming at them."

Deputy Guathier and Deputy Segrete have been put on paid administrative leave while the Robbery and Homicide Unit do a further investigation.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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