By MIKE SCHNEIDER
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — As a teenager who had survived a devastating bacterial infection that left him a quadruple amputee, Sean Petrozzino wowed those around him with his upbeat attitude.
But last week, authorities in central Florida were describing the now 30-year-old Petrozzino as “armed and dangerous” and “a person of interest” following the fatal shooting of his parents in their Orlando home. On Tuesday, detectives from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office went to Memphis to determine if Petronizzo was the driver who shot himself to death after being pulled over by police officers during a Monday evening traffic stop.
Memphis police officers said they heard a “pop” sound as they exited their car, and then found the driver dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A positive identification hasn’t yet been made.
Orange County detectives had been looking for Sean Petrozzino for the past week after the bodies of Nancy Petrozzino, 64, and Michael Petrozzino, 63, were found fatally shot inside their home. Deputies went to the home a week ago after colleagues at the school where Nancy Petrozzino taught second-grade became concerned when she didn’t show up. Michael Petrozzino worked at Walt Disney World.
Petrozzino had two prosthetic legs. A photo of Sean Petrozzino at a bank ATM on the day his parents were shot shows him without any prosthetics for his hands. The photo was released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and an agency spokeswoman said Tuesday she didn’t have any information on whether Petrozzino used prosthetics for his hands.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel wrote an article about Sean Petrozzino and his family in 2000 after the then-high school student recovered from meningitis, which resulted in the amputation of his hands and feet. The family lived in Pembroke Pines, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, at the time.
It would be difficult, though not impossible, for Sean Petrozzino to fire a gun without using prosthetics, said Doug Pringle, chief operating officer of Prosthetic Consulting Services, near Reno, Nev.
“It would be unlikely he could get something around the trigger,” Pringle said.
A phone number for Sean Petrozzino’s wife, Cynthia Horne Petrozzino, wasn’t accepting messages Tuesday. Public records show they had lived in the Orlando area, and most recently in Cobb County, which is north west of Atlanta.
A former neighbor in Georgia, Jim Petee, said Tuesday he only recalled seeing Sean Petrozzino once and that the couple kept to themselves.
States records show Sean Petrozzino formed a corporation, SMP Educational Services Inc., seven years ago with his parents, but the corporation was dissolved in 2012. Sean Petrozzino formed a second company, Trekkie Installations, in 2009 but it was dissolved a short time later.
Wells Fargo Bank initiated foreclosure proceedings against Sean Petrozzino in 2013, according to Orange County records.
In the 2000 article, Michael Petrozzino told the newspaper that he was proud of his son’s positive attitude adjusting to his changed world.
“I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me,” Sean Petrozzino said in the profile. “As much as I feel bad about what happened, I feel good that my family and friends stood by me.”
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