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Police: Man sought in parents’ death shot himself

November 12, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) — A quadruple amputee who fatally shot himself during a traffic stop in Tennessee is the same man who was named as a “person of interest” in the deaths of his parents in Florida, police said Wednesday.

Sean Petrozzino, 30, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while he was being stopped by police in Memphis for making an illegal U-turn on Monday. Police officers said they heard a “pop” sound as they exited their car and found the driver dead. A semi-automatic pistol was found in the vehicle.

Detectives had been looking for Petrozzino since the bodies of Nancy Petrozzino, 64, and Michael Petrozzino, 63, were found inside their Orlando home on Nov. 4. Officials said they were shot.

Memphis police said the vehicle Sean Petrozzino was driving was registered to the couple. The gun found in the car wasn’t the murder weapon, which was a high-powered rifle, authorities said Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear what Petrozzino was doing in Memphis.

Sean Petrozzino survived a devastating bacterial infection that left him a quadruple amputee as a teenager. He had two prosthetic legs. A photo of him at a bank cash machine 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 she didn’t have information on whether Petrozzino used prosthetics for his hands.

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, Nevada.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel wrote an article about the Petrozzino family in 2000 after Sean Petrozzino recovered from meningitis, which resulted in the amputation of his hands and feet. Michael Petrozzino told the newspaper that he was proud of his son’s positive attitude adjusting to his changed world.

A phone number for Sean Petrozzino’s wife, Cynthia Horne Petrozzino, wasn’t accepting messages.

Update hourly