ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -
Jamila Smith recorded cell phone video of a dramatic scene that unfolded outside her northeast side St. Pete home. Police yell at her to get back inside her house because there was an active shooter. "It was kind of surreal. Nothing you ever expect in your neighborhood," Smith said.
Police say just after midnight 69-year-old Paul Sibley set fire to his own house off 44th Avenue North. Armed with a semiautomatic handgun and several rounds of ammunition, Sibley went into a neighbors yard. As negotiators tried to approach, police say Sibley fired, and missing them.
The drama didn't end there. Outside police found a note on a car claiming explosives were also inside the home. That ended up not being true.
"My God. That's all I could say," Nancy Walsingham said. She lives right next door to Sibley and is a friend of his. She saw him outside his home after the fire started and tried to speak to him. "I didn't get to speak to him," Walsingham said. "He wouldn't talk to me. He was acting a little strange."
Police say while they are still investigating a motive, they did learn Sibley just go an eviction notice. "When you live in a house for twenty something years, and that's where your wife died, that's where all your memories are; there's no telling what goes through your mind," Michael Burnett said. He lives directly behind Sibley.
Officers eventually had to take down Sibley after he threatened them again. It's unclear where he was shot but they say he will recover, but neighbors wonder if they will. "Sad that it would get to that point for him," Burnett said. "That he would think there's no hope."
Officers Bradley Bryan, Robert Peters, and Matthew Hansell are the three officers involved in the shooting. They have been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation which is standard procedure.