When the body of Andre S. Bryant, 28, was found by the side of a road in Sarasota on Saturday morning, it fueled speculation that Bryant’s death was connected to a double homicide that had occurred hours earlier just nine miles away in Bayshore Gardens in Manatee County.
But on Sunday, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow said his agency has not locked down a connection between the three deaths or a motive.
“We haven’t confirmed that,” Bristow said. “We confirmed his name but we never confirmed Mr. Bryant was at the house in Bayshore Gardens.”
The Sarasota Police Department, which found Bryant at Bahia Vista Street and Yale Avenue at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, also confirmed Sunday that no determination has been made on Bryant’s involvement in the violent events in Bayshore Gardens.
“We are still not sure what jurisdiction the case will fall in,” said Genevieve Judge, a Sarasota Police Department spokeswoman, who confirmed there hasn’t yet been an arrest in the case.
Violent stretch started Thursday
So, with no one yet brought to justice in Bryant’s case, Bristow and Judge acknowledge suspects are still at large in five of the six homicide-related deaths that Manatee and Sarasota counties have experienced since Thursday.
The crime-laden three-day stretch over two counties began Thursday with a shooting for which a suspect has been arrested. It continued with a double homicide during a robbery at a luxury hotel on Longboat Key on Friday that has produced no arrests. And the investigation into Saturday’s three additional homicides in Bayshore Gardens and Sarasota have yet to lead to any arrests, Bristow said.
At about 1:40 p.m. Thursday, Melquisedec “Tito” Betancourt was discovered shot to death in a vehicle in the 7400 block of Tamiami Trail.
A suspect, Karrie Lee Sanderson, 36, was quickly arrested by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Sanderson admitted to investigators that he was in the vehicle but claims to be a victim. He has been charged with murder.
Friends remember Friday’s victims
On Sunday, Longboat Key Police Chief Peter Cumming said that despite no arrests in the apparent robbery and shooting that claimed the lives of security guard Kevin Carter, 51, of Bradenton and front desk manager Timothy Hurley, 59, of Sarasota at Zota Beach Resort, his agency has “workable” leads.
“We have been receiving calls from the video we released,” Cumming said, speaking of a video that shows a masked person making a slash sign across their throat as they look up at a security camera.
“We are also following up on several good leads by our license plate recognition cameras,” Cumming added.
Also on Sunday, Cumming said he is awaiting news on the funeral arrangements for Carter and Hurley.
“I have talked to people about Mr. Carter, the security guard, and, although I didn’t know him, I heard he was a fine man and a good citizen,” Cumming said.
Attempts by the Herald to reach out to the Carter family have been unsuccessful.
Jason Jerabek, president and CEO of the North Palm Beach-based Victory Security Agency, for which Carter worked, said Sunday that Carter’s dedication made him admired among his peers.
“Kevin was a long-time and loyal family member,” Jerabek said. “He was more than an employee. His dedication to all he served will be his legacy.”
Bayshore murders started with home intruders
The events surrounding Saturday’s homicides started at about 3:55 a.m. when a woman returned to her home in the 1000 block of Harvard Avenue in Bayshore Gardens where she was accosted by three or four intruders who forced her into a bedroom, according to information she gave Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
The woman’s boyfriend and Rodney Williams, 23, and possibly one other person, arrived at the home shortly after she did and confronted the intruders, Bristow said.
When the shooting was over, Williams and Keith Lamar Jones, 28, were dead, Bristow added.
Later Saturday morning, Bryant, 28, who was released from prison in 2015 after having his conviction set aside for the armed robbery of the wife of a Manatee County sheriff’s deputy at a Bradenton pharmacy in 2006, was found deceased nine miles away in Sarasota.