Neighbors react to man who shot at police - FOX 13 News

Neighbors react to man who shot at police

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Neighbors never imagined it would come to this.

"Get back in your house we have a man with a gun," said an officer.

Officers said the man with the gun was 69-year-old Paul Sibley.

"He was like you're dad, you're best friend, an uncle. He was a good guy," said Amanda Miller.

Nearly everyone on 44th Avenue North in St. Petersburg agreed.

"Not in a million years would I have believed this. He wasn't that kind of man," said Judy Urquhart.

The chaos started after midnight.

Officers said Sibley had been notified that he was being evicted from his home.

In turn he set the home on fire.

He took position in a neighbor's yard behind his home, while armed with a semi-automatic handgun and several containers of ammunition.

He left a note on a car parked in front the burning home that indicated explosives were inside.

When hostage negotiators initially attempt to approach Sibley and establish contact with him, he fired at least one round at them before they retreated.

A second attempt by hostage negotiators to speak with Sibley was made. Upon being contacted again, Sibley raised his gun at the officers who fired in response.

Three officers discharged their weapons.

"We heard him yelling back something at him heard another gunfire then pandemonium. We knew at that point he had been taken down," said Burnette.

Neighbors said it was just hours before that Sibley found the eviction notice taped to his door.

"We knew it was coming. We've known that he was having a battle with the banks," said Burnette.  

Sibley's friends said he lived there for 20 years and took pride in his house. It was everything he had.

"Every day he was doing something at his house. He would do yard work. Inside it was immaculate, he loved to cook," said Sanduroe Butts.

Now they wonder if they could have helped the man who was always first to help them.

"He didn't try to burden no one. That was the problem he never asked no one for help," said Burnette.

Sibley is charged with two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer, two counts of
Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer and one count of First Degree Arson.

The three officers will be placed on administrative duty pending a preliminary review of the shooting.

Interim Chief David DeKay was briefed on the operation by situation commanders. He noted that "The SWAT team members and hostage negotiators performed with great bravery and professionalism in a very difficult and dangerous situation."

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