TARPON SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) –Tarpon Springs Police say Officer Charles Kondek, 45, was shot and killed early Sunday morning while responding to a call. The nature of the call has not been released. The suspect, Marco Antonio Parilla Jr., 24, is in custody. Florida Department of Corrections records show that Parilla has a criminal record that includes convictions for dealing cocaine and stolen property.
The department issued the following statement about the shooting:
With grieving hearts, the Tarpon Springs Police Department is saddened to announce the loss of Officer Charles Kondek. Ofc. Kondek served the City of Tarpon Springs as a sworn law enforcement officer for over 17 years, many of which were on the midnight shift. Originally from New York, he had previously served for over 5 years as a NYPD officer before moving to Florida.
Ofc. Kondek, who was 45 years of age, responded to a call for service shortly after 2:00 am on Dec. 21, 2014. While at the incident location, at 199 Grand Blvd., Ofc. Kondek was killed in the line of duty. TSPD officers and members of the Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue, who were summoned to assist, attended to Ofc. Kondek on-scene. He was transported to Florida Hospital North Pinellas, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the Tarpon Springs Police Department will be investigating this tragic event. Additional information will be released at a later time.
A news conference will be held later Sunday afternoon where additional details will be announced.
Right outside police headquarters, a police cruiser honors the fallen officer. Since word got out of his death, people have been coming out dropping off flowers and cards. The cruiser is outfitted with a large black band.
Officer Kondek was shot near on Grand Boulevard near the corner of Orange Street which is right in front of the “Villa Plumosa” condominiums. After shooting and killing the officer, the shooter sped off in a white Hyundai Elantra, going toward the Tarpon Springs sponge docks. At the intersection of Athens and Cross the suspect smashed into a power pole, shearing it off midway, then crashed into another car. This happened just half a block from the famous tourist destination and is where the police arrested the killer.
Sunday morning is a time when many in the Greek community gather for coffee and pastries, but on this morning, the conversation centered around, how this could happen in this peaceful town. Friends of the murdered officer tell News Channel 8 that the victim killed Sunday morning is a father of four or five young children.
Right in front of the police department, there is a memorial to all of the department’s fallen officers. The last inscription on the plaque shows, the last officer to die in the line of duty was in November of 1969.
Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue Facebook posted this message on their page Sunday morning:
“A Tarpon Springs Police Officer died in the line of duty yesterday. We are all family with our brothers&sisters in Blue and we are so very saddened. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tarpon Springs Police Department.”
Stay with WFLA.com for more on this developing story.