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Search for murder suspect continues

MANATEE — Detectives Monday continued to search for a murder suspect they believe fatally shot a man in a motel parking lot off Interstate 75.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow said earlier reports that investigators were looking for three suspects are not true.

“We have not been able to locate the person who was seen running across (State Road) 64,” Bristow said. “That’s obviously a person we’d like to talk to.”

Clevon Murray, 29, of Atlanta, left room No. 411 at the Sunrise Motel, 668 67th St. Circle E., to get something out of his car and was shot to death at about 12:30 p.m. Friday, investigators said. Authorities suspect the shooting may be drug related.

After the fatal shooting, witnesses reported seeing a man run across State Road 64.

A search for that man lasted into the night Friday with deputies canvassing wooded areas near lakes and residences off Morgan Johnson Road and 13th Avenue East. He was not found.

Three men staying in a motel room across from Murray’s room were previously reported to be persons of interest, but Bristow said Monday they were not suspects.

“We’re not commenting on them; they are just part of the investigation,” Bristow said.

For now, Bristow said detectives are focused on the runner.

“There’s a pretty good chance he’s our man,” Bristow said. “We don’t know for sure, but obviously common sense tells us we need to get ahold of this guy.”

Bristow said authorities are planning to talk to more people about the slaying soon.

“We’re hoping to interview some additional people who could provide us with some helpful information,” Bristow said. He did not say who or what.

Murray checked into with two other people Thursday. Detectives have already interviewed those people. They are not suspects, according to the sheriff’s office.

Anyone with information can call Manatee sheriff’s Detective Tom Doughty 747-3011, ext. 2511, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at (866) 634-TIPS (8477).