A man in his 30s was shot and killed during a Manatee Mustang football practice at 8:09 p.m. Thursday, sending a terrified crowd estimated at 400 running for cover.
The gunshots occurred in the parking lot of the 13th Avenue Dream Center, a youth activity facility in the 900 block of 24th Street East, while family and friends were picking up their young athletes after practice at an adjacent football field, said Lt. James Racky of the Bradenton Police Department.
The department is withholding identification about the homicide victim until Friday due to the ongoing investigation, Racky said.
“It sounded like firecrackers,” said a woman at the practice who did not wish to reveal her name. “It was boom-boom. People were running, but it wasn’t a riot or anything. People were just getting out.”
Racky confirmed at least two shots were fired at the victim but he did not know how many hit the victim.
“We need the help of the community on this one,” Racky said. “There were 400 or 500 people here. Someone saw the shooter.”
Police do not yet have a person of interest, Racky added.
The shooter reportedly wore a mask although police could not confirm it.
Racky also said motive for the killing is unknown.
The Manatee Mustangs are a youth football team. Parents were picking up their young athletes up after practice when the shooting occurred.
No one else was injured, Racky said.
This is the eighth homicide in Manatee County year-to-date