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Man Dies After Shootout With Clearwater Police

Julius Richard Larrance, 19, opened fire on patrolling officers at Palmetto Park Apartments and was later found dead inside a unit Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

Carolyn Butler was shook up Wednesday.

After taking the morning to care for her elderly mother with dementia, she got an unforgettable phone call.

She said it was her nephew, Julius Richard Larrance, who opened fire on two Clearwater Police officers with a handgun leading to a foot chase near the Palmetto Park Apartments and at least one officer returned fire, striking him around 1:30 p.m., according to Clearwater Police.

"I don't know how it started off," Butler said as tears started to stream down her face. "He ran and the police shot and killed him."

Butler said she and her mother raised Larrance from a baby. Butler said his parents had died.

Larrance, 19, fled when officers Karl Wassmer and Lauren Josey approached him, believing he might be a wanted suspect, spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said in a media release. Larrance opened fire and Wassmer, 46, returned it, striking him. 

After a chase through the complex, Larrance barricaded himself inside an apartment, Watts said.

A resident and two children were in the apartment when Larrance went in through the unlocked front door, according to Watts. The resident quickly left with the children through the back of the apartment.

Responding officers tried to make contact with Larrance and later entered the apartment to find him lying on the floor with a handgun near his hand.

Paramedics were called in to render aid to Larrance, and he was pronounced dead inside the apartment, Watts said.

Wassmer, a 13-year veteran, is on paid administrative leave as part of department policy. He received a minor injury to his foot from what officials believe is a bullet fragment. He was expected to be treated and released from the hospital.

Larrance had an active warrant for a hit and run and also was wanted for questioning in connection with a lewd and lascivious incident in Clearwater and a double murder in Tampa, according to police.

Larrance also served more than a year in prison for a robbery and was released Feb. 17, 2011, according to state records.

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