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Man shot by officer died of fall at Tampa airport, official says

10-29-2013 Florida:

A man who was shot by a Tampa International Airport police officer died from the impact of the fall after he jumped from the fourth-story of a parking garage Monday afternoon.

Allen Piano died from blunt impact from the fall, said Dick Bailey, a Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office spokesman.

Airport police Officer Jason Virt shot at Piano but hit him only once in the upper body. That wound was not lethal, Bailey said.

The investigation hasn’t revealed the manner of Piano’s death, whether it was an accident or suicide, Bailey said.

Piano, 47, of 3172 Cypress Green Drive, Palm Harbor, was on sex-offender probation and faced imminent arrest when he was confronted by Virt, authorities said Tuesday.

Piano was sentenced to sex-offender probation two months ago in St. Lucie County on a 2010 charge of providing obscene material to a minor. The probationary period was for 10 years, Florida Department of Corrections records show, and he is listed in the state’s sex-offender database.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Misty Cash said Piano violated his probation by moving without notifying his probation officer.

“They were in the process of getting a warrant because he had traveled outside of the boundaries that he was allowed to move in,” Cash said. “And, at the time, he was suspected of having an firearm, which he was not allowed to have.

“We are regretful of the outcome.”

Virt, who has been with the department since 2010, came across Piano on the eighth floor of the short-term parking garage around 4:30 p.m. Monday, airport spokeswoman Janet Zink said. Piano told Virt that he was watching airplanes land and take off.

Virt continued his patrol, but asked for a background check on Piano. That report revealed the sex-offender status and that a warrant was in the process of being issued for Piano’s arrest.

A half-hour later, Virt found Piano on the fourth floor of the adjacent long-term parking garage sitting in his car with a gun in his mouth, Zink said.

Virt, who had worked previously with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, ordered Piano to put the gun down, but Piano got out of his car and charged the officer, Zink said. Virt shot, striking Piano once.

Piano, she said, “turned and then jumped” over the concrete railing, plummeting four stories. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Zink said she didn’t know if Piano got out of his car with the gun in hand. She said that Piano didn’t shoot at Virt.

Virt, 35, has one disciplinary action in his file at the airport, she said. That was a letter of counseling for leaving his post without permission.

“There’s nothing beyond that,” Zink said. “He’s generally an on-target employee. There’s nothing unusual in his personnel file.”

Virt was placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigation. The Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office is investigating the shooting. The airport police will conduct an internal affairs review after the state attorney’s office completes its investigation, Zink said. ..Source.. by Keith Morelli

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