MANATEE -- Owner Bill Chong and his staff at Target Auto Broker in the 6400 block of 15th Street East were working late Sunday, negotiating a deal with a customer who wanted buy a used Jeep Cherokee.
That’s precisely when an employee of Chong’s burst through the front door shouting, “I just got shot!”
Needless to say, in the panic that ensued, the deal never got made on the Jeep.
“The next few hours were bedlam,” Chong said.
Never miss a local story.
Amazingly, in a scenario that would probably seem too made up even for the movies, the Jeep Cherokee customer turned out to be a nurse who immediately sprang into action, perhaps saving the victim’s life, Chong said.
“I think he would have bled out,” Chong said Monday, pointing to a spot on his own upper torso to indicate where the victim was shot.
“That gal was fantastic,” salesman Joshua McClure said Monday of the nurse. “She applied direct pressure to the wound.”
The employee was listed in stable condition Monday at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg after being shot by one of two suspects he met in the car lot, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
“The guy is in stable condition and is expected to make it,” Dave Bristow, a sheriff’s office spokesman, said Monday. “We don’t have any suspects at this time. There was no surveillance video available on this incident.”
The sheriff's office said the victim was shot after two suspects asked him for $2, and he said he didn't have any money.
“I think without the help of the nurse and our staff he may not have made it,” Chong said. “It appeared he was hit in the lung.”
The night at Chong’s used car lot began to get alarming at 9:30 p.m.
“I saw him hobbling toward the front door,” said McClure, one of the salesmen at the store.
“I heard him come in and say he got shot. I saw a small amount of blood on his shirt. Then I saw him collapse into the arms of one of my fellow salesmen.”
The employee was placed on the floor of the dealership as 911 was called.
People began running for towels to apply to the wound.
Chong, an amateur photographer, even took pictures to document the event.
Within minutes, the blue lights from five sheriff’s office vehicles and an ambulance flooded the lot.
“He didn’t faint, but he was rapidly losing color in his face,” Chong said of the victim. “Even the nurse said he was losing it.”
The victim was conscious throughout his ordeal, so he could tell deputies about the events that left him lying on the floor.
The victim told deputies that two men came up to him and asked him for $2.
When he said he said he didn’t have any money, one of the suspects pulled a gun and shot him, the sheriff’s office report states.
The suspects fled on foot, the report states.
Anyone with information about the shooting can call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.