PALMETTO -- The day after Saturday's brazen shooting at a Palmetto Youth Center football practice, a Palmetto city commissioner issued a warning to those who resort to gun violence.
"We are going to zero tolerance in Palmetto," Ward 1 Commissioner Charles Smith said Sunday night. "If you shoot a gun unlawfully in Palmetto, you are going to jail for a long time."
The shooting at 2:30 p.m. Saturday occurred at the Palmetto Youth Center, 501 17th St. W., which is in Smith's Ward 1.
No one was injured in the shooting, but three suspects were arrested after a police chase led from Palmetto to Bradenton.
Smith also revealed Palmetto police "intelligence" tipped them off Saturday, which led to several officers being at the scene.
Palmetto police received a tip there could be trouble from the Palmetto Youth Center, Smith said.
"Law enforcement had intelligence that an incident might happen and they were prepared for it and did a terrific job," Smith said.
"Our police had concerns Saturday," Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant said Sunday. "I know they absolutely helped in the arrest and I am proud of them. Other law enforcement agencies also came on scene and worked in tandem to bring in these people."
Palmetto Police Department Deputy Chief Scott Tyler and Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski agreed Sunday the Palmetto shooting seems unrelated to the Aug. 1 shooting death of Brenton Coleman Sr., 39, at a youth football practice at 13 AV Dream Center in Bradenton.
Tyler said early investigation indicates these shooters were not the same ones who shot Coleman. No arrests have been made in the Coleman shooting.
"We don't believe the two are related," Tyler said.
Radzilowski's detectives are trying to close the Coleman case.
"I am sure that all the detectives are all talking, but I don't have any information from any of our detectives that the Palmetto shooting is related to our case," he said.
The three Palmetto shooting suspects, all charged with attempted murder, are Darion Lazier, 23; Chris Jackson, 17; and Wesley Blanc, 15.
Jackson was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and Lazier was charged with fleeing to elude.
Police said they recovered two guns from the car.
Lazier was being held without bond at the Manatee County jail. Information about the juveniles was not immediately available.
The incident reportedly began at about 2:30 p.m. when two people got out of a car in front of the center and started firing handguns at two spectators leaving the parking lot on foot, according to the Palmetto report. Bullets struck a parked car and a tree, police said.
Officers and other witnesses then saw the suspects' car speed west on 17th Street West. Palmetto police gave chase and the pursuit continued into Bradenton where deputies from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office joined. The chase eventually ended in the 1600 block of 26th Avenue East after the suspects' car struck stop sticks deployed by deputies.
Palmetto Commissioner Jonathan Davis said Sunday the community must help educate those who believe guns are the answer for solving problems. The police just can't do it all, Davis said.
"Parents, religious figures and the community at large needs to step in to teach children about the responsibility of taking lives," Davis said Sunday. "It's sad. Everything is going this way. We need our father figures to take action. We all need to step up."
Groover Bryant said it seems obvious youthful gunmen are not aware of the consequences of shooting violence.
"The lives of these young men are ruined," Groover Bryant said.
Smith said he was stunned and will call for a community action meeting now.
Saturday's shooting and the one at the 13 AV Dream Center may not be linked but both were brazen and put many lives at risk, said Patrick Carnegie, director of the 13 AV Dream Center and founder of the Manatee Metro Action Plan, an effort to change attitudes about violence among Manatee youth.
"This is a marathon, not a sprint," Carnegie said about stopping gun violence. "We need to eradicate or change the mindset some have that it is OK to commit brazen acts of violence and put people at risk. There are certain parts of the population that need help and can change. But there is also a part that needs to be locked up, and that's what we will do."
More than 20 adults have signed on to try to help youths reject gun violence in the Manatee Metro Action Plan, Carnegie said.
A church service featuring the Rev. Louis Murphy of St. Petersburg will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at 13 AV Dream Center where adults can enlist in helping convert youths from violence to peaceful coexistence, Carnegie said. For information on Manatee Metro Action Plan call 941-746-7470, ext. 227.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072.