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Palmetto police identify man killed in double shooting

PALMETTO — Palmetto police have identified a man shot to death in what detectives say was a robbery attempt Saturday.

Police say three men attacked the slaying victim Saturday, Beltran Perez-Diaz, 24, of Palmetto, and another Palmetto man, near St. Luke’s Primitive Baptist Church, at the intersection of 12th Street Drive West and Sixth Avenue West, according to police. The second man, 27, who also was shot, remained in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Detectives found Perez-Diaz’s body next to the church, and the injured man was found a block away at the Oakridge Apartments.

The survivor’s condition has improved and investigators have been able to interview him. The victim said three men approached him and Perez-Diaz, one carrying a gun and another a baseball bat. The men tried to rob the victims before shooting both of them, the victim told detectives.

Police say the men are believed to be in their teens or early 20s, according to the victim. They were wearing black t-shirts and dark-colored shorts.

Anyone with information can call Palmetto Police at (941) 723-4587, or remain anonymous and possibly become eligible for a cash reward by calling Crimestoppers at (866) 634-TIPS (8477).