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St. Pete officers shoot rifle wielding man

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

St. Petersburg police officers shot and killed a man who pointed a rifle at them early Saturday morning at a home on 3311 40th Street North.

Investigators say the officers had been in the area on a noise complaint when they heard a gun shot. When they approached the residence, they saw 46 year old Lealann Russel Melder Cooley  sitting on a porch armed with a handgun. When the officers challenged him, he went back into the house and then came back out with a rifle which he pointed at the officers.

Six officers then fired at Cooley, who was wounded and later pronounced dead at the scene. When police searched his home they found a shotgun near the front door along with a bandoleer of shotgun ammunition. 

They also found two rifle cases and assorted ammunition inside one of the bedrooms. Authorities say he has a wife and daughter who were not at home at the time of the shooting. They left the home on Friday because Cooley was acting strange and drinking heavily.

Investigators say that neighbors told them that Cooley had been randomly firing his weapons throughout the day on Friday and in the early morning hours of Saturday but they were reluctant to call police for fear of retaliation by Cooley.

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