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Man suspected in ‘violent assault’ on 9-year-old girl fatally shot by St. Cloud police, chief says

Victim in stable condition

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – St. Cloud police officers fatally shot a man suspected of stabbing and assaulting a 9-year-old girl Tuesday afternoon, according to Police Chief Pete Gauntlett.

Officers responded to a 911 call around noon to the “violent assault and stabbing” of a girl near Georgia Avenue and 3rd street, not far from O.P. Johnson Park.

Police found the victim suffering from multiple fractures to her face and stab wounds to her body and face. She was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando where she is listed in stable condition.

Gauntlett said around 12:50 p.m. officers made contact with a man witnesses had reported “acting erratically, running on foot” in the area, including through backyards. The chief said the man was staying at the same home as the 9-year-old victim.

When officers attempted to make contact with the man, they used deadly force, shooting and killing the individual.

“It is is our understanding the person who was shot was the person who stabbed the girl,” Gauntlett said.

Gauntlett did not release the suspect’s name or how many officers were involved. All officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave which is standard procedure for an officer-involved shooting investigation.

There are several crime scenes, one where the girl was attacked “which is very violent," said the chief, and in the road where the suspect was shot. The investigation is ongoing.

“I was in the bedroom with my daughter watching a movie and we heard the gunshots," neighbor Lucia Johnson said.

Gauntlett said he could not disclose whether the man was armed when he was shot and killed by officers. It’s unknown what the man’s relationship with the 9-year-old girl was or if they were relatives.

“It was scary, it’s nerve-racking knowing it’s literally in my backyard,” Johnson said.

This is a developing story, check back with ClickOrlando.com and News 6.