Police searching for homicide suspect in St. Pete - FOX 13 News

Police searching for homicide suspect in St. Pete

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Residents of St. Petersburg's Westminster Heights neighborhood are anxious to learn more about a murder very close to home.

"It's very quiet back here, most of the time you see people out, very friendly," Stacey Polcik said Friday afternoon as she walked her dogs, "It's very surprising."

Polcik was referring to a still-unexplained homicide at about 12:45 Friday morning. St. Petersburg police identified the victim as 47-year old Karen Gunther, who bought her modest home at 5263 Fifth Avenue South in 2002.

A police spokesman said Gunther had been out with a friend Thursday night, returning home around midnight. He declined to say whether the victim had just returned home or had been home and when back outside when she was shot in the upper torso.

Witnesses report hearing more than one gun shot, but the spokesman did not know how many bullets struck Gunther. Officers responded quickly to the scene, but Gunther died later at Bayfront Medical Center.

Mechelle LeBeau lives across the street from Gunther's home and described her as friendly and outgoing. She is among those awaiting more details from investigators.

"A random act is anybody -- it could happen to me," LeBeau explained. "If it was somebody she was associated with, it's totally different."

St. Petersburg city councilman Wengay Newton lives around the corner from the crime scene and knew Gunther through the Westminster Heights Neighborhood Association.

"It's almost on my door step,- so I know first-hand what my neighbors are going through," Newton told FOX 13 News. "But not knowing is even worse."

At last report, the police had no motive and no suspect.

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