Deputies shoot at man suspected in a string of Pinellas County robberies

Christopher Kearney, 32, was involved in a deputy shooting after fleeing police. He is allegedly connected with several robberies across Pinellas County.
Christopher Kearney, 32, was involved in a deputy shooting after fleeing police. He is allegedly connected with several robberies across Pinellas County.
Published November 9 2018

Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting at a Palm Harbor gas station involving a deputy and sergeant after a man committed several crimes across the county, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Christopher Kearney posted $105,000 bail and was released from the Pinellas County Jail two weeks ago. He was in jail on three counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery and one count of grand theft auto. He was ordered to wear an ankle monitor and on Thursday, deputies received an alert that the batteries were low.

Here's what authorities say happen next:

Deputies contacted Kearney's girlfriend, Jennie Martindale, after being unsuccessful at locating him. They say he stole the 44-year-old's Chevrolet Impala.

Then, there was a tip that Kearney was in Clearwater. Police saw him but the 32-year-old fled in the Impala. Deputies did not pursue him.

Kearney was now classified as an absconder and was wanted for tampering with an electronic monitoring device and grand theft auto. A bulletin was issued to local law enforcement to be on the lookout.

About 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, there was a report of a robbery at Vixen Nail Salon in Dunedin. The suspect implied he had a weapon and stole 20-year-old Quynh Nguyen's money and other personal belongings.

About 20 minutes later, deputies heard the missing Impala was parked at Thornton's gas station off of U.S. 19 North in Palm Harbor.

Several deputies converged and challenged Kearney at gunpoint. He refused to comply and accelerated forward in the car, officials said. That's when Sergeant David Webb Jr. and Deputy Chelsea Gross fired multiple rounds at the Impala.

While trying to flee, Kearney sideswiped a vehicle near the gas pump and drove recklessly through the parking lot. He then proceeded west on Tampa Road with deputies in pursuit.

He eventually made it to Ranchette Lane where he lost control of the Impala and crashed into a tree.

Throughout the course of the investigation, detectives also learned that Kearney was suspected in robberies in Largo on Wednesday and Clearwater on Thursday.

Kearney was transported to the Pinellas County Jail without incident and his bail was revoked. He was charged with one count of tampering with an electronic monitoring device, one count of robbery, one count of grand theft, one count of fleeing and eluding police and a warrant for five counts of violation of pre-trial release.

The Clearwater and Largo Police Departments had additional criminal charges including robbery, robbery with deadly weapon and grand theft auto.

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