St. Pete officers return fire after man fires shots fired back

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. - A possibly suicidal man is recovering in the hospital Sunday morning after allegedly setting his house on fire and later firing shots at officers.

According to Saint Petersburg police around 12:30 a.m. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue responded to a possible fire at a home in the 400 block of 44th Avenue North.

When they arrived on scene they found the house fully engulfed in flames. They quickly sprung into action to work on extinguishing the fire.

While fire crews battled the blaze, neighbors noticed the homes occupant, Paul Sibley, 69, in the backyard with a gun. Police were soon dispatched to the scene.

Officers attempted to talk with the man, but he turned the gun on the officers, firing one round at them. SWAT was then called to the scene as the situation escalated.

They too made attempts to speak with the homeowner, but he continued to threaten to fire at the officers. At one point he raised his gun at the officers causing them to fire at him.

Sibley suffered a gunshot wound and was taken to a local hospital where he is in fair condition.

Police say that Sibley set the house on fire after he learned he was going to be evicted. He also left a note on a car in front of the house stating that their were explosives inside, but none were ever found.

He faces charges of attempted homicide and arson.

The officers who fired their weapons are Bradley Bryan, 48, Robert Peters, 42, and Matthew Hansell, 41.  All three officers are being placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted.

No officers were believed to have been injured during the event.

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