Man killed during robbery, suspect in Manatee

SARASOTA — A man suspected of jumping a counter at a pharmacy and stealing Oxycontin near University Parkway a couple of weeks ago may be the same man who was shot and killed Tuesday morning by Sarasota Police, according to authorities.

Zachary C. Mathes, 22, of Sarasota, was shot at least twice after Officer Todd Tschetter, an 18-year veteran of Sarasota Police Department, fired four rounds when Mathes refused commands to drop a 9mm semiautomatic handgun during an attempted robbery just after 10 a.m. Tuesday at Walgreens Pharmacy, 3535 N. Tamiami Trail, according to reports.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies believe Mathes was involved in another pharmacy robbery at a CVS at 3724 84th Ave. Circle E. two weeks ago when a man matching his description stole pills, fled the store and appeared to be armed, according to reports.

“We don’t have a warrant, but we have a good lead,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Dave Bristow, referring to the Jan. 5 incident. “The name we gave (SPD) matched the suspect in the case.”

Sarasota Police Capt. Mikel Hollaway said investigators are looking at whether Mathes was involved in other pharmacy robberies.

The drugs he took Wednesday were recovered at the scene, he said.

Police arrived at the pharmacy just a minute after they were contacted, Hollaway said. Mathes, quite a few shoppers and employees inside.

Tschetter, who has been placed on routine administrative leave, fired the shots at Mathes after repeated commands for him to drop his gun. Hollaway said Tschetter was unharmed and there were no other injuries from the incident.

Mathes had a criminal history in Sarasota and Bradenton, according to court records.

In 2008, Mathes was arrested and then later convicted of two counts of grand theft and resisting arrest in Manatee County.

In Sarasota, Mathes also was convicted of charges including cocaine purchase, robbery and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

Kristen Gabriellini, 45, of Port Charlotte, was charged with murder Wednesday because Mathes died during the botched robbery. According to Sarasota Police, she was the getaway driver for the robbery.