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18-year old Austin Goodner’s Facebook page show boy who loved to fish, not cop shooter

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Police have identified 18-year old Austin Goodner as the suspect in an officer-involved shooting in which at least one police officer was shot in the leg and Goodner was shot dead.

Preliminary information from the St. Petersburg Police Department indicate Goodner was allegedly discharging a firearm when police were called to the scene. Goodner reportedly fled the scene.

Officers then received a tip about the young man’s home address. When officer’s arrived, Goodner reportedly fired shots. A 40-year old, ten-year veteran of the department who has not yet been identified was shot in the leg.

He was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Goodner’s parents were reportedly home when the shooting took place and did not know their son was in the yard.

More information is expected Monday, but news is already spreading of Goodner’s death among friends on Facebook.

“I write this in disbelief, shock, and sadness. Spent years with you kid, unfortunately we drifted and we stopped seeing each other so much. You always seemed like such a complex character, yet always happy as long as you were with your friends, which we were privileged to be,” wrote Dixie Hollins alumnus Aaron Motta on his Facebook page Sunday evening. “I’m not sure what happened, and I’m not sure that anyone ever truly will; However, you will forever be a friend to me. I hope you have finally found peace, and I hope we meet again buddy.”

Goodner’s Facebook page hasn’t been updated since February 4 of this year. His activity then included changing his cover photo to a picture of several manatees.

On February 2 he updated his profile picture to one showing him smiling on the St. Pete Pier holding a fish.

Goodner appears to have blonde dreadlocks in his most recent photos. Nearly all of his photos are of him holding fish he caught.

There are also pictures of a couple of bugs and a lizard.

His profile doesn’t seem to give any indication of past trouble. Goodner is listed as attending St. Petersburg College and formerly, Northeast High School.

Aj Zelenak SPC, “I’m going to miss you so much RIP,” wrote AJ Zelenak, another SPC student and one of the few Facebook friends to comment on Goodner’s photos.

“Rip Austin, I will miss you so much. You were loved and still are, prayers are out to your family,” wrote Ashley Zelenak.

Another Facebook user commented on Goodner’s death drawing speculation about the police’s handling of the shooting.

“Good post, i thought cops were supposed to protect not kill, even with whatever bad choice he made, i thought to just injure and take down not kill, dont really no much but seems excessive, this is why all this cop killing shit is going on, i dont know, sorry for ur loss and his family, from his pis he looked like just a kid, but what do i know,” she wrote.

Most controversial police shootings in other parts of the country have involved black males. Goodner was white. Police have also made it clear that Goodner fired the first shot.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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