Saturday, June 15, 2024

SWAT team apprehends barricaded suspect from Clearwater home after officer grazed by a bullet

Officers from the Clearwater Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office surrounded a home off of Ridge Avenue near Leverne Street in Clearwater. The incident began prior to 7:08 p.m. on Sunday, January 1, 2023. Officers were in the area of the home due to reports of gunshots fired. It is reported that 60 year-old James Wassman was discharging his firearm several times into the air.

Additional shots were fired at approximately 7:26 p.m as negotiators attempted to resolve the situation peacefully and the suspect responded by stating that “you will have to kill me.” Wassman retreated into the home where he discharged the firearm through a window of the residence in an unknown direction of the officers. It was learned that Wassman fired 25 shots from the Glock Model 22 40-caliber weapon directly toward where an officer was positioned. Two other officers opened fire. The bullet that grazed an officer’s arm was fired by another Clearwater Police Officer.

One officer observed a red laser, consistent with a laser attached to a firearm pointed in his direction and the direction of other officers, coming from a window of the home.

One officer from the Clearwater Police Department was evaluated by paramedics at the scene. He was grazed in the arm by a bullet and transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. He was treated and later released from Morton Plant Hospital.

Crews from Clearwater Fire and Rescue near subject barricaded in structure

Click below to hear gunshots from Clearwater Police radio traffic

The incident ended at about 10:45 p.m. when the suspect, 60 year-old James Wassman, surrendered. He came out of the residence after SWAT team members fired gas canisters at the house.

Photo of home morning after SWAT incident

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the response. Wassman has been charged with Discharging a firearm in public and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

Article will continue to be updated as additional information is available.

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