MANATEE -- A 24-year-old man has been charged with aggravated assault for a shooting at a Palmetto strip club early Monday that left three people hurt. Deputies said his girlfriend, also a suspect in the case, remains at large.
Roshard Williams was arrested in Sarasota late Monday. He faces six counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, and was being held on bonds totaling $1.5 million.
A second suspect, identified as Williams' girlfriend, Terita Malone, 27, remains at large, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
"Detectives have learned that the two shooting victims got into the middle of an ongoing dispute between Malone and another person who was at the club," a news release states.
The shooting of three people at Pandora’s Box, 3823 U.S. 41 N., did not surprise Nick Mitha, owner of the nearby Angler’s Discount Store.
“In this area, the young kids carry guns, and they even come into my store and ask if I want to buy one for $200,” Mitha said Monday afternoon, between waiting on a steady stream of mostly beer-purchasing customers. “It’s crazy. Most of these kids around here don’t know how to correctly handle a gun. We have to take these guns away.”
When Mitha arrived at his store just before 7 a.m. Monday from his home in Tampa, he saw many law enforcement vehicles and the manager of Pandora’s Box being interviewed by detectives.
A man was shot twice about 2:41 a.m. Monday at Pandora’s Box and was in stable condition at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, said Dave Bristow, a sheriff’s office spokesman.
A woman was shot once and was in stable condition at Manatee Memorial Hospital. A third victim had a superficial wound, Bristow added.
After the law enforcement had gone, the manager told Mitha that the fight was over a woman.
“He said they were fighting over girls,” Mitha said. “He didn’t know if it started inside or outside. It seems someone may have gone home and got a gun. Neighbors told me the people doing the shooting were a man and a woman.”
Mitha’s description of the neighborhood where his store sits along the highway makes it sound like the American West of the 1800s, when gunslingers wore their weapons on their hips.
“It’s crazy there,” Mitha said, pointing to the strip club. “There seems to be a lot of fights, perhaps over drugs and women. It’s not always a nice clientele.”
When told of Mitha’s information, sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow confirmed that the neighborhood around Pandora’s Box is rough.
“This area is not becoming a problem, it has been one of our problem areas for a while,” Bristow said. “We had a homicide just a few blocks from Pandora’s Box last Tuesday.”
Bristow was referring to the slaying of Vincente Valerio Centeno, who was found in a van in the 700 block of 23rd Street East, Palmetto.
Bristow noted that residents need to get involved if other people are out there toting guns.
“We are doing everything we can think of doing,” Bristow said. “We need the assistance of the public. If you see someone bragging about having a gun, let us know. We’ll check it out. Obviously, people have the right to bear arms, but not if they are a convicted felon, if the weapon is stolen or of the gun owner is up to something sinister. People usually know the difference between that and someone going hunting.”
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Malone can call the sheriff's office at 941-747-3011, ext. 2162 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 6686.