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Detective fatally shoots bank robbery suspect

The suspect, John O. McFarland, had done four stints in prison dating back to 1977, Department of Corrections records show.

Published May 2, 2006

SAFETY HARBOR - An undercover St. Petersburg police detective fatally shot an ex-convict who was a suspect in five recent bank robberies, authorities said.

The detective shot John O. McFarland, 49, of Sebring after tracking him to a warehouse in an industrial area at about 1:25 a.m. Tuesday, police said. Details of the confrontation were not immediately made public.

McFarland was arrested in January on charges he robbed three banks in St. Petersburg. At the time, he had cocaine and marijuana in his pants pocket, and he was carrying a gun, which was confiscated.

Bail was set at $160,500, but McFarland came up with the money necessary to free himself. St. Petersburg police believe he then robbed two more banks in April.

Department of Corrections records show McFarland has done four stints in prison dating back to 1977. He was released in 2002 after serving 15 years for armed burglary, armed robbery and other crimes.

The name of the 37-year-old officer, a member of the department's career criminals unit, was not released. He will be put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

[Last modified May 2, 2006, 16:17:02]

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