Officials are still working to solve a deadly attack over the weekend in a Lakewood Ranch park, just a block from a school. School officials have encouraged students who pass through the area to walk in groups.
“We’ve been working on this thing all weekend and continue to work it. We’re making good progress, but nothing to make public at this time,” said Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Just after midnight Sunday, 23-year-old Alexander Cherp was found near his vehicle in Greenbrook Park by an on-duty security guard. Cherp was suffering from upper body trauma, and later died in the hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.
One woman at the park Sunday afternoon told the Bradenton Herald news of the incident was “shocking.”
“It’s not something you expect around here,” Jessica Oberdorf, a Greenbrook Banks resident said.
As of Sunday, no arrests had been made and Monday afternoon, Bristow said they were not going to talk about any possible suspects in the case. However, he said they do believe Cherp knew of the person who attacked him.
“Whenever we have an incident like this, we like to keep a close eye on the area. ... We believe this individual knew of the person who committed the crime,” Bristow said.
The area of the attack, Greenbrook Park, was just a block away from Nolan Middle School and McNeal Elementary School.
A statement from Nolan Middle School Principal Scot Boice informed parents about the incident and stated school officials do not believe the incident is “in any way related to Nolan Middle School.”
It also encouraged students who travel past the park to get to school to travel in groups until law enforcement has completed the investigation.
The students returned to school Monday, Bristow said. Any extra personnel for security would be provided by the school district, not the sheriff’s office.
Bristow said they do not believe this case is connected to any other homicide cases.