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Man tells police shooting was failed suicide attempt

MANATEE — A 55-year-old man told police Monday that a motorist had shot him as he drove his white Cadillac along U.S. 41.

But investigators soon discovered that wasn’t the case.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow said that Tuesday the man admitted he shot himself in the head in a suicide attempt, then decided to drive to Manatee Memorial Hospital. He only made it as far as the 800 block of Eighth Avenue West in Bradenton, about a dozen blocks from the hospital.

The Bradenton Police Department, which originally investigated the shooting, reported that when they responded to where the man pulled his car over on Eighth Avenue, he told detectives that a man in a black car shot him.

The man was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg to be treated for his injuries.

“We wanted to get this out because there is a lot of fear in the downtown area because of the shooting,” Bristow said.

Bradenton Police Deputy Chief J.J. Lewis said detectives turned the case over to the sheriff’s office after they determined the shooting had not happened in the city.

According to Bristow, sheriff’s detectives found evidence in the man’s residence that the shooting was self-inflicted.

When he was questioned Tuesday, the man admitted he shot himself at his home in the 1700 block of 69th Avenue West.

A sheriff’s report states that at about 2:15 p.m. Monday, two residents saw him get into his car at his Sarabay Coves apartment complex.

The witnesses told investigators they later saw a blood trail leading from the man’s apartment, so they contacted the man’s parents.

When the parents visited their son’s apartment, they found his door ajar, the report continues.

Inside the apartment they found blood “all about the living area” and called 911.

Bristow would not give additional details, including if detectives had recovered a gun.

As of Tuesday the man remained hospitalized in stable condition and had not been charged.

Authorities will continue to investigate the incident, Bristow said.