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Minutes after police leave, father shot

Police say the man's son shot him after a family argument.

Published February 16, 2004

ST. PETERSBURG - Police say an adult son, who was mentally disabled, shot and killed his father in their Hanna Park residence Sunday afternoon, minutes after authorities had just left the family's home.

Peter B. Perkins, 39, was arrested and charged in the death of his father, said St. Petersburg police.

Peter Perkins Sr., 79, was found dead in a living room chair with multiple gunshot wounds, said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

The younger Perkins called police to his family's home at 6410 31st St. S at 3:30 p.m. Sunday after an argument with his parents over his Social Security benefits.

"The parents talked to the officers and told them they had similar issues in the past with their son and said they could deal with him," Proffitt said. "They felt confident they could resolve the situation."

At 3:47 p.m., officers left the family's two-story home.

Ten minutes later, the suspect's mother, Erma Perkins, 60, called police and said that her son had shot her husband, Proffitt said.

When the officers returned, they found Erma Perkins in the front yard. She led police to the kitchen, where her son was holding a gun, police said.

Officers arrested Perkins without incident, Proffitt said. They then moved to the living room where they found Perkins Sr. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Erma Perkins told police she did not know her son had a gun.

Sunday night, the medical examiner was investigating the death in the quiet south St. Petersburg neighborhood.

The Perkinses' home dominates the landscape of the block, which is across the street from Spring Lake Village Apartments.

The two-story, 2,000-square-foot home has a spiral staircase leading upstairs from the front door and a neatly manicured lawn.

Neighbor Mike McKenny said the Perkinses have never caused trouble.

"I've talked to the father a lot. I see him walking around all of the time," McKenney. "He seems like a nice guy."

In 1995, the younger Perkins was arrested and accused of aggravated domestic battery, according to court records. That charge was eventually dropped. He was also arrested on nine occasions on minor charges, including trespassing, petit theft and exposing sexual organs.

Proffitt said Perkins lived with his parents because he was mentally disabled. He did not know the extent or nature of the disability. The parents used his Social Security benefits to pay for his care.

The victim was listed as a registered officer of Perkins and Sons Inc., a former Clearwater-based company.

[Last modified February 16, 2004, 06:51:26]

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