TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A St. Pete police officer who shot and killed a man in his mother’s apartment was justified in using deadly force, State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said.
The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office reviewed the fatal Nov. 27 shooting of Gus Spanoudis, 63, and found Officer Jace Morrow’s actions to be reasonable.
Police had responded to a hit-and-run in the area of 13th Avenue North and 50th Street North in the early hours of Nov. 24. Police said the bumper of the suspect’s vehicle was left on the street with the license plate still attached.
Officers ran the license plate and found it was registered to Mary Spanoudis. They went to her listed address, but no one answered the door. They were eventually able to reach her over the phone and learned she was at a nursing home. She told police her son, Gus lived in the apartment and had access to her vehicle. She expressed concerns about his well-being and requested a welfare check.
Officer Morrow and Officer James Demaria forced entry into the residence. and found Gus Spanoudis in a bedroom.
Police said he threatened to harm himself and pointed a firearm at Morrow. Morrow told him to drop the gun several times, and ended up firing two shots.
Spanoudis was seriously wounded and was taken to a hospital and pronounced deceased.
The State Attorney’s Office reviewed the shooting and concluded that both Morrow and Demaria were justified in their actions.
“Officer Morrow was justified in his belief that he and Officer Demaria were in danger of death or great bodily harm as a result of the actions of Spanoudis,” Bartlett wrote in a letter to Chief Anthony Holloway. “As a result, Officer Morrow shot Gus Spanoudis while in the lawful performance of his legal duties and the death constitutes justifiable homicide.”