Investigators are the hunt for four armed suspects who claimed to be police but instead carried out a pair of violent home invasions in St. Petersburg.
Authorities are reviewing surveillance video taken from one of the home invasions, but the four male suspects were covered up well.
In one, the suspects ended up killing a homeowner whose wife had died just days earlier, leaving three children without parents.
In both home invasions, police said the armed men kicked in the doors and yelled "police, police, police!"
But investigators said these men are not police officers. They killed 41-year-old Richard Shaw and beat another homeowner in a separate incident.
According to police, the first crime happened around 4:20 a.m. at a home on 1st Street N.
"(The homeowner) reached for a gun but didn't use it," Bill Proffitt of St. Pete police said of the first break-in. "He heard people coming in the door yell ‘police, police, police!' So he decided not to retrieve his gun.'"
Less than a half-hour later, several armed suspects broke into Shaw's home on Orpine Drive.
The men entered the homes demanding drugs, jewelry and cash left through the front door. Detectives believe the victims in both cases were specifically targeted, but they did not elaborate.
"As far as Rick Shaw was concerned, no drugs on him, no drugs in his
system. Guns, maybe. Because he had to protect [himself]. He's had this happen
before. He just got stabbed a week or a month ago over this with his kids. He
did have to go out and get protection and there was concern. Now this has
happened and it's just awful," Timothy Bidwell said.
Police said Shaw did not have a criminal history, but
there's a chance one of his sons could be connected to the suspects. The investigation continues Wednesday.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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