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Austin Goodner had ‘long history’ with police before shooting St. Pete cop

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

More details have emerged in the officer-involved shooting Sunday evening that claimed the life of one 18-year-old boy and left an officer seriously injured with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Austin Goodner, a former student at Northeast High School, fled to his home at 5236 Robin Lane just blocks from his former high school. Further investigation of the events show that Goodner was hiding in the yard, perhaps waiting for officers.

According to police, when officers first arrived at the home they saw the suspect’s father and verified it was not the suspect. They then retreated to their vehicles to “regroup.”

That’s about when Goodner emerged from the yard with a 9- millimeter gun in his hand.

Goodner reportedly fired first. Officer Matthew Enhoffer was the first to return fire. He reportedly fired two shotgun blasts.

Holloway said Goodner then retreated around a corner where two more officers again confronted him. The suspect fired on those officers. Officer Michael Cordiviola was struck in the leg.

Officer Brian Lynch pulled Cordiviola from the line of fire.

Cordiviola then used a nearby hose to fashion a tournaquette on his leg before being transported for treatment to Bayfront Medical Center. His injury is considered non-life threatening and the police agency expects him to be released from the hospital sometime this week.

It’s unclear where in the leg Cordiviola was shot. Police also did not say which leg was injured.

A third round of shots were fired after Cordiviola’s injury. That’s when police say Goodner suffered the fatal blow.

“The wounded officer returned fire – whether he’s hit in any of those situations we don’t know for sure. We know he’s still alive and talking,” said St. Pete Police Public Information Officer Mike Puetz. “It was at the third incident that actually the fatal wound to him comes.”

Police are unsure how many times Goodner was struck or which shot inflicted the fatal wound. They are awaiting more details from the Medical Examiner’s office before that information can be released.

Police have had a long history with Goodner. According to St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway his officers have had dealings with the suspect going back as far as 2009.

“That owner’s home was flagged to say use caution, suspect possibly with a knife, mental subject,” Holloway said during a press conference Monday morning.

Most of the charges brought against Goodner in those confrontations were some type of battery or assault.

Holloway said Goodner had also been twice involuntarily institutionalized and examined — commonly known as the “Baker Act” – once in March 2013 and again that June. Holloway did not discuss the circumsnatces of the two incidents, just that there were some issues where his family was concerned.

According to Holloway, Goodner was also on some sort of medication, but could not indicate what kind. He said Goodner’s parents were cooperative with police and “they were trying to make sure he had his meds.”

Goodner may have done what some call “suicide by cop.”

He reportedly approached police with a weapon shouting, “kill me” repeatedly. According to Holloway, Goodner also asked officers to “get this over with for me.”

Police are still investigating how Goodner got the weapon.

“We’re tracing that 9mm because the parents said there’s no way that they would have a weapon in the house and they had no idea how he got that weapon,” Holloway said.

Results of the preliminary investigation show a very straightforward case involving officers who returned fire on a suspect. However, recent conflicts around the nation involving officer-involved shootings could lead to a critique surrounding the agency’s use of force.

Holloway said he’s not too worried about that.

“Some people are going to question anything we do,” Holloway said. “But we’re right here; we’re telling you what happened. Some people may think we’re covering up something. We’re not here to cover anything.”

“I know they did the right thing and we survived it,” Holloway continued.

The shooting occurred just one day before the community was set to remember fallen officers during a memorial service at Demens Landing. That includes Officers Jeffrey Yaslowitz and Dave Crawford and Sergeant Tom Baitinger, who were all killed within one month in 2011.

That service is still on for 7:45 Monday evening.

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 Patch.com 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 janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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