PINELLAS COUNTY (Bay News 9) -- The St. Petersburg police detective shot Monday night appears to be improving, according to St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon
"He doesn't really have any life threatening injuries at this point. But as with anything, if anybody you've known that's been through surgery, there's always a chance for infection. All those things that happen. So, I'm not going to say he's out of the woods until he's released, Harmon said. "But he did have a couple of serious wounds that were close to some vital organs."
The detective was shot several times during an undercover operation late Monday night.
Three suspects, ages 16, 17, and 18, are in custody.
Police say two on-duty police detectives saw the three suspects on bicycles acting suspiciously about 10:20 p.m. and called for backup. Police say the suspects left their bikes in an alley and walked to an Exxon station, located at 3061 First Avenue North.
They say two of the suspects robbed the Exxon station while the third acted as a look-out.
Police say 18-year-old James Allen Seay shot the detective multiple times in the upper and lower body while he was in the process of detaining one of the other suspects.
The detective returned fire, but none of the suspects were injured.
Police say all three suspects ran and were arrested. Seay received a minor dog bite from the police K-9 during his arrest and was later treated at a hospital.
Police say Seay's semi-automatic handgun was recovered at the scene, along with a bandana and a ski mask.
The identity of the wounded detective is being withheld because he works undercover. Bay News 9 is told he is 41 years old and has been a St. Petersburg police officer for 19 years.
He was transported to Bayfront Medical Center, where he underwent surgery early Tuesday morning. He is listed in serious, but stable condition.
"He is improving in my opinion," Harmon said of the officer's condition. "Obviously we're very concerned about his long-term prognosis."
Bay News 9 is not releasing the names of the other two suspects, in accordance with its crime guidelines
, because they are minors.
The state attorney's office will decide whether to charge the two 17-year-olds as adults.
Police are trying to figure out if this shooting is connected to a string of recent store robberies
in St. Petersburg and Gulfport.
"In the other robberies that we had we did have somebody immediately go in and shoot the clerk," Harmon said. "This did not happen in this case. That is different. We have no direct link to any other crimes at this specific point. But we are going to -- obviously -- going to fully investigate those possibilities."