ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County detectives were dispatched Tuesday to Tennessee, where the search for the quadruple amputee considered a person of interest in his parents’ deaths appeared to have come to a bloody end.
Local authorities had been searching for 30-year-old Sean Petrozzino for a week, when they were “notified that a death investigation being conducted by the Memphis Police Department may be connected to the search,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
According to a Memphis police spokeswoman, officers there pulled over a 2012 Toyota Camry about 5:45 p.m. Monday in the city’s Binghampton neighborhood. As the officers exited their vehicle, they heard a faint “pop” sound.
“When they approached, they discovered the driver/lone occupant had an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” police Sgt. Karen Rudolph said in the statement. “A pistol was located in the vehicle.”
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rudolph said the driver “has not been positively identified at this point,” and authorities have stopped short of confirming Petrozzino’s death in official statements. However, multiple reports by Memphis media outlets identified the deceased as Petrozzino.
WMCActionNews5.com, the website of the Memphis NBC affiliate, reported that Petrozzino was pulled over for an illegal U-turn and shot himself as officers approached the car.
Petrozzino’s parents, 54-year-old Nancy, an Andover Elementary School teacher, and 63-year-old Michael Petrozzino, who worked for Walt Disney World, were found shot dead Nov. 4 in their east Orange County home.
Michael Petrozzino was shot three times in the abdomen and once in the head, said Dr. Sara Zydowicz of the Orange and Osceola counties medical examiner’s office, who conducted his and Nancy Petrozzino’s autopsies.
The shooter likely used a powerful rifle, with bullets Zydowicz said fragmented and were “very destructive.”
“There was a lot of tissue destruction. He (Michael Petrozzino) was not recognizable,” Zydowicz said.
Two of the bullets that hit Nancy Petrozzino’s torso came from the front, and one came into her back, Zydowicz said. She said she was not sure which came first.
All three bullets exited Nancy Petrozzino’s body, so Zydowicz said she could not compare the ammunition to the bullets used to kill Michael Petrozzino. But their wounds were similar, she said.
Authorities have called their 30-year-old son dangerous and said he has a gun, but they stopped short of calling him a suspect. He was believed to have taken his father’s red Toyota Camry. Investigators initially believed he was in South Florida.