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'Epitome of a true bad guy': Gunman ambushed police officer, could have killed him, sheriff says

Calvin Brockington, who has a lengthy criminal record at 24 years old, could spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted.

LARGO, Fla. — Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri accused Calvin Brockington of knowing exactly what he wanted to do to a Pinellas Park police officer responding to a domestic call between the 24-year-old and his former girlfriend.

Brockington wanted to kill the cop, said Gualtieri of the Tuesday evening shooting at a Circle K gas station on Ulmerton Road. 

Gualtieri and Pinellas Park Police Department Chief Michael Haworth spoke during a news conference Thursday afternoon detailing how a 911 call for help led to the shooting, a high-speed chase on Interstate 275 and an arrest in St. Petersburg.

Records show Brockington is currently in county jail on multiple charges, including drug possession and sale. But it's the attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, plus a combination of numerous arrests and prison time since Brockington was a juvenile, that could keep him locked up indefinitely.

"He has forfeited his right to live among us, and he needs to be in prison for the rest of his life and, hopefully, that's what happens," the sheriff said.

Brockington asked his former girlfriend, who Gualtieri said is pregnant with the man's child, to drive him to a community in Largo so he could see the children he had with another woman, the sheriff continued. At some point, the two reportedly got into an argument that escalated to Brockington beating her.

The woman pulled into the gas station at 49th Street North and Ulmerton Road and walked into the bathroom to call 911. She warned the dispatcher Brockington was "anti-law enforcement" and he had been sitting in the front passenger seat, Gualtieri said.

Watch it back: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office news conference

Pinellas Park Officer Jacob Derr was the first officer to respond, and he tried to make contact with Brockington, according to the sheriff's office. He approached from the driver's side, but Brockington had already moved to the left rear seat.

"So as Officer Derr was approaching, he was ambushed," Gualtieri said. "Brockington opened the door and immediately fired on Officer Derr. Officer Derr had absolutely nothing that he could have done. He was completely taken by surprise and completely ambushed by this."

The reason why Brockington moved, the sheriff suspects, was to get the advantage over the officer. The investigation so far showed Brockington fired five out of six shots out of a revolver believed to have been stolen and in circulation since the 1980s, Gualtieri said.

Derr was shot in the upper right arm and was incapacitated, preventing the officer from reaching his weapon. All the other shots missed him. While he's expected to make a full recovery, Haworth anticipated it'll be another three to six months before he can again join the Pinellas Park Police Department force.

Brockington then reportedly ran into the gas station store and stole a man's keys. Officer KC Gavin confronted Brockington as he ran out, and he shot at her, Gualtieri said. Gavin returned fire but didn't hit him.

Brockington then allegedly drove off in the stolen car, leaving deputies on a chase along Ulmerton Road — at one point going the wrong way — and onto Interstate 275 toward St. Petersburg. The sheriff said Brockington was tracked going 150 mph at some point on the highway.

He eventually exited in the area of 22nd Avenue South and cut through some side streets before Deputy Brandon Lundy tried to perform a technique to spin out Brockington's car, Gualtieri said, adding that his deputy ended up crashing head-on into a tree at about 55 mph.

Lundy broke his foot and hurt his shoulder as a result of a crash, Gualtieri said. He, too, is expected to recover. Brockington ran off and ended up in a house before law enforcement was able to make an arrest.

While at the jail, the sheriff said Brockington "started blurting stuff out" and admitted he knew he had a single round left in his gun to kill the officer.

"This is the guy who is the epitome of a true bad guy," Gualtieri said. "This is a guy that has absolutely no care for anybody else, no regard for anybody else. And the men and the women of law enforcement that our protecting our community every single day...this guy says he wants to snuff them out."

Per protocol established in 2020, the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Taskforce is investigating the shooting. Detectives assigned to the task force are not part of the Pinellas Park Police Department but rather other agencies within the county.

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