Taskforce Investigation

***UPDATE as of 7:15 p.m. on October 22, 2021***

Christopher Tonsel has been charged with the following:

Armed Robbery (St. Petersburg Police Department charge)
Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement Officer
Carrying a Concealed Firearm
Possession of Firearm by Person Under 18 Years of Age
Battery (Dating Violence)

The investigation continues.

***End of Update***

***Original News Release***

Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force
-Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
-Clearwater Police Department
-Pinellas Park Police Department

State Attorney’s Office – Sixth Judicial Circuit

St. Petersburg Police Department

Christopher Deon Tonsel (Suspect – Injured)
DOB: 02/08/2004
Address: 735 26th Avenue South, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg Police Officer Leighton Williams (Officer – Uninjured)
Age: 29
Date of hire: 4/14/2014

PINELLAS COUNTY - Detectives assigned to the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Task Force are investigating an officer-involved shooting in the City of St. Petersburg.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on October 20, 2021, St. Petersburg Police officers responded to the area of Wildwood Park at 1000 28th Street South after reports of a domestic disturbance between a male and a female. The caller reported the male involved had a gun and he was actively involved in an argument with the female, attempting to take her phone.

According to detectives, officers made contact with the female involved and were able to develop charges on the male for battery. When officers arrived, the male, later identified as 17-year-old Christopher Tonsel, fled on foot from Wildwood Park to 13th Avenue South, running east bound. St. Petersburg K-9 Officer Leighton Williams observed the suspect run between two homes into an alley way.

Detectives say Officer Williams exited his patrol car with his K-9 in an attempt to locate Tonsel. Tonsel concealed himself in the area of 2488 13th Avenue South. Officer Williams found Tonsel and challenged the suspect, giving him several verbal commands to drop the firearm. Tonsel reached for the firearm and began to point it toward Officer Williams. Officer Williams fired one time and struck Tonsel once in the abdomen area.

Tonsel was transported to Bayfront Hospital in critical condition. Next of kin has been notified.

Tonsel is also the suspect of an armed robbery that occurred on Sunday, October 17, 2021 on a 10-year-old and 15-year-old.

In 2020, the Pinellas County Use of Deadly Force Investigative Taskforce was created to ensure the investigations conducted into law enforcement use of deadly force are thorough, complete, and objective. The purpose of this taskforce is to make sure that officer-involved shootings in Pinellas County are investigated by an independent agency and not by the agency involved in the use of deadly force.

Officer Williams will be placed on routine administrative leave.

Sheriff Gualtieri held a press conference on scene and it can be found here:  https://youtu.be/poC3q0uqUNI

The investigation continues.

Below is a photo of the gun found on the suspect.


Posted by Amanda Sinni Wednesday, October 20, 2021 8:00:00 PM Categories: General News

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