MANATEE -- Two dark red blood stains in the parking lot of Gravely of Bradenton on Sunday morning were evidence that something grisly had occurred there recently.
Charles Lehnert, 31, of Bradenton was walking at 6:38 p.m. Saturday through the parking lot of the lawn equipment store at 5732 15th St. E. when he got into a physical confrontation and was shot and killed, according to a Manatee County Sheriff's Office report.
Early Sunday, the sheriff's office released surveillance camera photos of two possible suspects and their vehicle, a red SUV. There were no arrests by late Sunday afternoon, said Dave Bristow, a sheriff's office spokesman.
Lehnert's death was the third homicide in less than a week in Manatee County, and the sixth so far in 2016.
Sheriff's office officials do not believe the latest crime
"We think Mr. Lehnert knew whoever did this," Bristow said. "We have some theories about the case but nothing we can say publicly at this time."
As for the location of the crime, Lehnert's most recent address listed with the Manatee County Clerk of Courts was in the 1400 block of 57th Avenue Drive East, Bradenton. Gravely is on the corner of 15th Street East and 57th Avenue Drive East.
Lehnert was convicted of felony petit theft last year, according to Manatee County court records.
Also last year, Lehnert was convicted of driving with a cancelled, suspended or revoked license, his second such offense, court records show. He was also convicted of possession of Adderall, a controlled substance, court records state.
Lehnert served his sentences simultaneously in the Manatee County jail, but the court website does not indicate how long his sentences were.
Lehnert's fatal shooting was very likely witnessed by some motorists, as 15th Street East at 6:38 p.m. would be fairly busy, Bristow said.
"We most definitely are requesting anyone who saw the crime or sees the photos and recognizes the suspects or the red SUV to call us," Bristow said.
Although not perfectly in focus, the surveillance photos are clear enough to tip off anyone who knew the SUV or suspects, Bristow said.
"We haven't got a lot of tips yet, but hopefully, people will start calling in after viewing the pictures," Bristow said.
An employee of a business in the area said he was not an eyewitness to the murder but he was in his office at the time and others who did see it told him about it.
The man did not want his name used in this story. The sheriff's office did not confirm or deny any of the information the man presented.
On Sunday morning, the man pointed out about six large stones the size of ping pong balls scattered around the parking lot of Gravely.
"They were thrown at him," the man said of Lehnert. "What I heard was that they were arguing down the road and the guy was walking down here through the parking lot and the suspects came over here and started beating him. One of them pulled a gun out of his pocket. The victim was already laying on the ground, unconscious. The suspect got down over him and shot him in the back of the head. I didn't see it but that's what they are saying. He wasn't moving at all."
The man also thought that Lehnert lived in the neighborhood.
Rosa Chagoya works at Boost Mobile in the All Star strip mall directly across the street from the homicide scene.
Chagoya was asked if this area was dangerous.
"Than any other part of Bradenton? Yes," Chagoya said.
"It didn't surprise me," Chagoya added when asked if she was shocked by the shooting across the street.
Ana Zuniga was doing laundry at the laundromat near Boost Mobile and she said that she lives in Oneco and is moving.
"I don't like the neighborhood," she said. She has an eight-month-year-old baby boy. She is moving into Bradenton so her child will have a safer home, she said.
Zuniga heard about the murder Saturday night.
"My friend was close by there and he told my husband," Zuniga said.
Guillermo Carcamo of Honduras comes nearly every week to dine at Haydee's Coffee & Bakery in the All Star strip mall where they serve dishes from Honduras. He was dining on a plate No. 12 Sunday from the poster on the restaurant wall.
The murder across the street won't stop him from coming to Haydee's or the Oneco area, he said.
Anyone with information on the fatal shooting can call the sheriff's office at 941-747-3011, ext. 2519, or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-525-3377 or via Twitter@RichardDymond.