BRADENTON — The newly formed countywide Manatee Homicide Investigation Unit came together early Wednesday morning for its first joint investigation in what appears to be a drug-related shooting.
One man was killed, another injured and one victim fled the incident at a Chevron gas station, 1832 Manatee Ave. E., about 2 a.m., according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
The three victims, whose names have not been released, were going to purchase some items at the gas station when three unknown males approached them and fired several shots.
One man died from his gunshot wound after being taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital, according to the sheriff’s office. Another victim, who is expected to survive, is listed in critical condition at Blake Medical Center.
Detective James Curulla, of the Bradenton Police Department, is leading the investigation because the incident took place within the city limits.
Detectives from other agencies throughout the county are assisting as part of a joint homicide unit initiative that launched Tuesday.
“The unit, with Bradenton PD being the lead on this one, is working some tips they have out there,” said Randy Warren, sheriff’s office spokesman.
Security footage from the gas station is among evidence being collected in the case, he added.
Detectives have spoken with the hospitalized victim, but Warren would not comment as to whether the third victim has been located.
The store was busy Wednesday morning with customers lining up to fill their tanks or make purchases inside. Some made references to the earlier shooting in passing. A cashier working would not comment on the incident.
Next to the business’ parking lot was a piece of crime scene tape wrapped around a tree near 19th Street East — the only physical sign of the night’s events.
This is the first homicide in the city of Bradenton and Manatee County this year.