Palmetto police search for drive-by shooter who left one man injured

jdeleon@bradenton.comMay 1, 2014 

PALMETTO -- A 41-year-old Bradenton man was injured in a shooting in Palmetto late Wednesday, police said.

The shooting happened about 9 p.m. in the 1500 block of 12th Avenue West, according to witnesses.

"Investigators are working the case and have developed a person of interest," Palmetto Police Deputy Chief Scott Tyler said. "We're hoping to wrap this up quickly."

Police did not identify the person of interest or possible motive.

"There were several people in front of this home, including the victim," Tyler said. "We are not quite sure what the target was. We speculate the target was one of the people in the yard or the home."

Shots were fired from a passing vehicle, Tyler added. Police are not yet releasing the description of the vehicle.

"We did recover bullet fragments from the scene," Tyler said.

It is unclear what weapon was used, he added.

Preliminary information indicated the man was grazed by shrapnel and not the actual bullet, Tyler said. Detectives said the victim was conscious and walking when police arrived.

The man was taken to a local hospital to be treated and later released, Tyler said.

The victim's vehicle, a Chevrolet SUV, had one bullet hole. A second vehicle and the home were hit, too, Tyler said.

Martha Velasquez was in the bedroom of the home with the SUV parked out front. She said she didn't see anything.

"He doesn't live here. He was just visiting someone that lives in the house," Velasquez said in Spanish.

Velasquez said she had no idea why shots were fired or whether the shooter was driving or on foot.

"I just heard the shots," Velasquez said.

Nest door, Barbara Johnson heard the gunshots also.

"It sounded like it might be firecrackers," Johnson said. "Then I saw the reflection of the police lights in the house."

Johnson said she was surprised by the crime scene unfolding as she looked out the window.

"We got up and looked out the window, and I thought, 'Oh, my goodness,' there were three cop cars and two ambulances," Johnson said.

Crime scene tape was set up from the corner of 15th Street West down to 17th Street West, in front of Palmetto High School.

Kelly Ellis, who lives in the 1300 block of 12th Avenue West, on the opposite side of the road, also heard gunshots, she said.

"I was in the kitchen and on the phone Skyping with my mom," Ellis said.

She heard six gunshots, she said.

"I was like, 'Were those gunshots?' " Ellis said. "My mom even heard it on the Skype. But honestly, it's not the first time I've heard something like that before."

Ellis continued with what she was doing until about an hour later when someone told her about the police cars outside.

"It was weird that I didn't even hear sirens," Ellis said.

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

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