Murder suspect Jason Skinner identified as man killed in fiery crash in St. Pete

October 27th, 2010 by Staff

St. Petersburg, Florida – Tampa Police say a driver who was killed in a fiery car crash in St. Petersburg Tuesday afternoon was a person of interest in the murder of his girlfriend.

The murder occurred at 5101 N. Seminole Avenue. At about 1:30 p.m., Tampa Police say they responded to the house after a 9-1-1 call came from the home. A woman was screaming on the other end and then hung up.

Officers arrived and discovered the body of 25-year-old Larsen E. Hunt. Her MySpace page shows she’s the mother of a five year old autistic son. She calls him her “little angel” and writes “he gave me a purpose.”

More Pictures: Jason Skinner and Larsen Hunt Facebook photos

Megan O’Connor lives in the Seminole Heights neighborhood where it happened and was pushing her child in a stroller and walking the family dog near the crime scene. She says, “We actually once lived on that street. It’s a very quiet neighborhood. This is awful. This is quite a tragedy. It’s just very shocking.”

After Hunt’s body was found five schools in the area were placed on lockdown for a time while police searched the area for Hunt’s boyfriend, 30 year old Jason Skinner, who is also a father of a young child.

Marc Hamlin, is the Assistant Chief of Police with the Tampa Police Department. He says, “We believe that the murder was a case of domestic violence and originally we had a person of interest by the name of Jason Paul Skinner.”

Police tried to pull vehicle over before crash

About an hour later St. Petersburg Police say an officer tried to pull over Skinner’s vehicle. Shortly after 2:30 p.m., an officer was on routine patrol on 10th Street North when a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Skinner turned onto 10th Street from 3rd Avenue North, directly in front of the officer’s cruiser.

Bill Proffitt is a spokesman for the department and says, “He pulled in front of a police cruiser and fishtailed and the officer got behind the car and tried to stop it.”

The officer followed Skinner and turned on his cruiser’s lights in an attempt to pull the vehicle over. That’s when police say the Camaro accelerated from the cruiser at a high rate of speed.

Witnesses say the officer did not follow in pursuit (department policy only authorizes pursuits of vehicles that are involved in felonies, and not for only traffic violations).

Witnesses then say the Camaro traveled westbound on Burlington Avenue North at an extremely high rate of speed. At least one witness estimated the vehicle’s speed at 100 MPH when it ran the stop sign at 16th Street North and went “airborne” across the intersection.

Skinner appeared to lose control of the vehicle after it crossed over the intersection and left the roadway in the 1600 block, where it traveled over the south curb, through a chain link fence and slammed into a vacant, single-family home at 1648 Burlington Avenue North.

The entire vehicle went into the structure of the home, at which time a fire started that enveloped the vehicle and damaged a large portion of the structure. Skinner died inside the car.

There was no one inside or near the home at the time of the crash, and no one else was injured as a result of the crash.

The burned vehicle was removed from the scene and taken to a secure facility in St. Petersburg for further investigation.

After 6 p.m. Tampa Police identified the driver as 30-year-old Jason Skinner, who detectives wanted to talk to.

No word yet on how his girlfriend, Larsen Hunt, died and whether Skinner is responsible.

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