Manatee judge orders suspect in series of 7-Eleven armed robberies to remain in jail

jdeleon@bradenton.comOctober 25, 2013 


MANATEE -- A Manatee County judge ordered a suspect in a string of recent 7-Eleven armed robberies to remain in jail.

Ra'shaad McDonald, 20, was arrested early Wednesday and charged with the armed robbery of the 7-Eleven at 5900 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton. McDonald is also charged with resisting arrest with violence and battery on a police K-9.

McDonald appeared Thursday afternoon before Manatee County judge Thomas Krug, who ordered him held without bond based on probable cause and a possible punishment of life in prison if convicted of armed robbery.

"The facts in this case are disturbing and alarming," Assistant State Attorney Pamela Buha said.

Buha stressed McDonald is the prime suspect in 13 recent armed robberies at 7-Elevens in the area.

McDonald stood silent during the hearing holding a bandaged arm, evidence of injuries sustained during his arrest.

McDonald's prior criminal history presented in court Thursday included a juvenile battery conviction.

There are two other suspects in Wednesday's armed robbery.

Kaylesha Brannic, accused of driving a getaway car after Wednesday's robbery, was arrested and faces one charge of felony armed robbery. Brannic, 19, appeared Wednesday before Krug and bond was set at $250,000. Brannic remains in custody at the Manatee County jail.

The third suspect in Wednesday's armed robbery remains at large, according to Manatee County spokesman Dave Bristow.

McDonald's arrest report details how a Manatee Coun

ty Sheriff's Office detective conducting surveillance witnessed the armed robbery.

At about 12:20 a.m. Wednesday, the detective reportedly saw a gold SUV pull into a residential driveway and turn off the lights. Two male passengers dressed in black with their faces covered got out and crouched along the side of the store while moving toward the front door.

The detective reported he witnessed the suspects commit the armed robbery. As they fled in the waiting car, the detective followed and called in the tag number.

The getaway car began to speed up in an apparent attempt to flee as backup deputies arrived. The car was forced to stop at a dead-end street in the 5300 block of Second Avenue Drive Northwest at which point Brannic, the driver, was taken into custody as the other two suspects fled.

McDonald was captured next with the aid of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office helicopter. He was spotted crossing yards of nearby residences and later found by a police dog hiding in the shed at one of the homes.

Deputies say McDonald punched the canine several times as he resisted arrest. He was treated at Manatee Memorial Hospital for bite wounds to the head, arm and leg. The canine was not injured.

A silver semi-automatic handgun found near the shed was later identified by store clerks as matching the one used in the armed robbery.

Anyone with information should call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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