A man waving an ax Monday evening in St. Petersburg had people running for their lives. Police responded to a call at Central Avenue and 4th Street and found several people running from a man with an ax. The suspect, 27 year old Kenneth Robert Sprankle, came around the corner and was ordered by police several times to stop.
Sprankle did not stop and was shot several times by Officer Damien Schmidt from just seven feet away. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sprankle was seen earlier in the day in Williams park with the ax. Acquaintances told investigators they saw Sprankle smoking spice about an hour prior to the shooting. Also, the ax Sprankle was holding was the property of the St. Petersburg Fire Department and likely was stolen while firefighters were on the scene of a fire alarm call. The fire department is looking into circumstances surrounding the theft of the ax.
Officer Schmidt is now on routine administrative leave. He is a 30 year veteran of the St. Petersburg Police Department.