“I’m in complete shock.”
Those were the words of Anna Maria Island resident Bernadette Sucec, who on Sunday talked about her surprise following a shooting, which occurred at Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue in the normally peaceful seaside town of Anna Maria on Saturday night, just a day before thousands would celebrate New Year’s Eve on the island.
“Things like that don’t happen here,” added Sucec, who has had a vacation home on the island for 13 years with her husband, Jeff. “The worst thing that happens here is that someone leaves their wallet in their unlocked car and someone steals it. That’s the worst thing you ever hear about.”
At 7:25 p.m. Saturday, a Bradenton Beach police officer shot a man armed with a knife and a hatchet at the intersection of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue, leaving the suspect, Douglas Schofield, 45, in stable condition at a local hospital with a gunshot wound, Dave Bristow, a spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement Sunday.
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“Besides as paradise, I refer to Anna Maria as Andy of Mayberry with palm trees,” Sucec said. “It’s Aunt Bee and Gomer, and everyone knows your name.”
Schofield had threatened to harm himself, and officers and deputies from the sheriff’s office and the Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach police departments went to the scene after reports of the threats, Bristow said.
Schofield’s reason for making the threats, his hometown, the location of his gunshot wound or further details regarding the incident were not released Sunday.
A call for comment from Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale was not immediately returned Sunday. The name of the officer involved in the shooting and his status with the department has not been disclosed.
“No, I will always want to come back here,” Sucec said when asked if the shooting sours her at all on the island. “I love this place. It’s charming. Somebody got drunk, out of control.”
The intersection of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island was back to its peaceful self Sunday morning as people rode bicycles around it, jogged in bathing suits along it and were magically drawn toward sounds wafting through it from Al Hixon’s Jazz Quartet, playing sweetly on the nearby Sandbar restaurant patio.
But tourists and locals both said they got a jolt of modern-world reality Saturday night.
“We heard sirens, which is very unusual,” said Ian Charles, on vacation from Wales in the United Kingdom. He recalled the incident Sunday morning as he had brunch with his wife of five years, Jacqueline, just south of the shooting scene at a sidewalk patio table of Ginny’s & Jane E’s Cafe, Bakery & Store.
“It’s so quiet here generally,” Jacqueline Charles said. “But last night, there were a lot of emergency vehicles. We weren’t sure what had happened.”
An official with The Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Sunday said that the department is investigating the shooting because it involves multiple local police agencies.
“I can confirm that a request went out to us to investigate the shooting and that we have begun to look at the facts and gather evidence,” Jessica Cary, an FDLE spokeswoman, said Sunday afternoon. “Once our investigation is completed, we will forward our findings to the state attorney’s office.”