ARCHIVES: Convicted drug dealer charged in Palmetto slaying

PALMETTO — Palmetto Police have arrested a 28-year-old man after a shooting near a nightclub left another man dead.

Tavarious China Smith, who apparently was wounded during an apparent gun battle, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the case.

The shooting happened near Club Elite, 704 10th St. W. about 2:20 a.m. When officers arrived, they found Breon Mitchell with a gunshot wound to his torso, lying in the parking lot of a nearby car dealership, according to a news release.

Mitchell later died at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Witnesses reported seeing Smith running a few blocks from the shooting. He had a gunshot wound to his arm and his friends took him to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, police said.

“It looks like there was a gun battle back and forth. Gunfire was exchanged,” said police Lt. Scott Tyler, who added a motive has not been identified.

Palmetto Police arrested Smith and he was released from the hospital and charged with first-degree murder.

Smith was recently released from prison after serving more than two years on convictions for dealing cocaine and marijuana.

He remains at the Sarasota County Jail without bond. He will be transported back to Manatee County to face charges.

Police were looking for more witnesses to come forward. Anyone with any information can call Palmetto Police at (941) 723-4587 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS (8477).

The Palmetto Community Redevelopment Authority has also pledged to match any rewards.