Manatee gunman may have shot himself

MANATEE — A man who opened fire on a home in Palmetto this morning may have shot himself in the process, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

At about 10:15 a.m., witnesses told deputies a man on a bicycle rode up to a duplex in Palmetto Villages, on 25th Street East off U.S. 41, and opened fire, a sheriff’s report stated.

Deputies say Johnny Hawks, 19, of Palmetto, fired multiple times at the duplex, and at some point is believed to have accidently shot himself. A man in the duplex was not injured, and told deputies he did not know Hawks.

Hawks then ditched the bike where he was wounded, and limped several blocks on foot to another home nearby, where he made a phone call for someone to pick him up. Deputies found a gun Hawks left in the house, but the homeowner told deputies she did not know him.

A car later found to be driven by Hawk’s mother came to pick him up, but by that time a sheriff’s patrol car came up behind the vehicle and followed it to a nearby convenience store, at 23rd Street East and U.S. 41.

Deputies confirmed Hawks had been shot in the stomach and emergency personnel took him to Bayfront Medical Center, in St. Petersburg. Sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow said the case is still under investigation and charges are possible.