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Security Guard Found Fatally Shot in a St. Petersburg Apartment Complex
by Security Guards Jobs News Monday, May. 16, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Little had roughly 125 to 150 hours of security guard / security officer training in addition to his nearly two years on the street. He made a perfect score on his firearm training, 240 out of 240. "He was handy with a sidearm," Poulin said.

A child heads to school past crime scene tape Monday morning at the Mariners Pointe Apartments at 1175 Pinellas Point Drive S in St. Petersburg. A security guard was shot to death at the complex in the early morning hours.

ST. PETERSBURG — A 26-year-old security guard was fatally shot while patrolling an apartment complex early Monday, according to police.

Authorities identified him as Mathew Finley Little of Brandon, an security guard / security officer with the private security firm Critical Intervention Services.

He was engaged to be married to his college sweetheart.

Two officers responded to Mariners Pointe Apartments at 1175 Pinellas Point Drive S at 1:07 a.m. after receiving a call about multiple gunshots. After searching the complex and interviewing a resident, they found nothing amiss and left about 1:51 a.m.

At 1:59 a.m., officers responded to the complex again after getting a call from the security service providing uniformed security guard officers for the complex.

They found Little at 2:09 a.m. between two parked cars in a lot near the complex's pool and tennis court area.

He was shot at least once and pronounced dead at the scene.

Little was in full uniform and licensed to be armed. His handgun was missing, but detectives don't believe he was shot with his own weapon.

Little was wearing a bulletproof vest, but the bullet struck him above the protected area, police said.

His marked security car was found parked and unattended in an adjacent parking area to where he was found.

Police said there are no known suspects and a motive for the murder was unknown.

Little had worked with the Largo agency for nearly two years, said K.C. Poulin, Critical Intervention Services chief executive officer. He primarily worked in an area west of the University of South Florida in Tampa, but Sunday he was working the night shift in St. Petersburg.

Poulin said Little was a vehicle patrol officer. Officers are armed, typically with a .38-caliber or 9mm handgun, and have bulletproof vests, pepper spray and batons.

Poulin said the security firm last heard from Little when he checked out to go on foot patrol just before 1 a.m.

"The guy was very good at what he did," said Poulin, who hired him in 2009.

Little had roughly 125 to 150 hours of security guard / security officer training in addition to his nearly two years on the street. He made a perfect score on his firearm training, 240 out of 240. "He was handy with a sidearm," Poulin said.

He said Little, who had a bachelor's degree in science from the University of South Florida, was one of the firm's best at de-escalating situations.

"He was able to calm situations down," he said.

Little's family knew from what he said, and what he didn't say, that he felt his job was dangerous.

"We all were just holding our breath that he would get out of the security work," said his mother, Cynthia Little, 53. "I'm sorry he was left there to die."

Little saw so much crime while working that he applied with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in hopes of building a career where he could offer more help, said his fiancee, Susan Leyczek, 27.

He died waiting to hear back on his application, which he sent in several months ago and was only awaiting a final review from the chief and the sheriff. He would've been accepted for training at the academy before a swearing-in as a deputy.

"To get to the level he was at, he would've been a great selection," said Larry McKinnon, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Little and Leyczek lived together in Brandon and planned to get married on what they considered would be a lucky day: Nov. 11, 2011.

Little sometimes worked twelve-hour shifts with four hours of sleep in between the next shift. Leyczek said he was often nervous before leaving to work. He made sure to leave Leyczek home-cooked dinners in the fridge topped off with with an 'I love you' note.

Before he kissed her goodbye on Sunday, they both searched for his cellphone. They didn't think it'd be safe for him to go to work without it.

Poulin said Critical Intervention Services, which has operated for 20 years, has been working the apartment complex for about 15 years.

The security firm has about 300 officers based in Tampa Bay, Orlando and Jacksonville and provides everything from security services for dignitaries, celebrities and politicians to antiterrorism training around the world. Critical Intervention Services officers have provided Baghdad and U.S. Capitol police with antiterrorism training. They also provide security for Target stores during natural disasters, Poulin said.

The security firm lost one officer in Iraq, but the officer was on loan to another agency at the time.

The shooting comes months after three St. Petersburg police officers were gunned down while on duty.

"There's something going on. There's no doubt about it, " Poulin said. "It's scary — It's a disturbing trend."

What Poulin found most frightening is that criminals are willing to take on trained officers with weapons. "That means there is no fear for them to victimize regular citizens," he said.

Poulin said there are about as many security officer deaths every year as law enforcement deaths.

The security firm is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful conviction of the suspect who killed Little. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (727)893-7780 or e-mail

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