A 19-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder after he shot a man he was trying to rob, according to Palmetto police.
Officers say Deven Morris pulled a pistol on a 38-year-old man at Fifth Avenue West and 11th Street Drive West at around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 as the victim was walking home alone from a nearby store.
According to an arrest report, Morris grabbed the victim by the shirt and demanded money, but the victim refused. Police say Morris then shot him in the leg and bullet passed through the victim’s femoral artery.
The victim fell to the ground upon being shot, at which time Morris walked up to him, put the gun to his head and once again demanded money, police say.
According to the report, Morris took the victim’s wallet, which held $365 in cash, and ran away.
The victim was rushed to Blake Medical Center. Police say doctors told them the victim would have bled to death, had it not been for a witness who provided aid and called for help.
The day after the shooting on Sept. 16, a city worker found the victim’s wallet near the railroad tracks just north of the crime scene. A nearby resident had a security camera, which shows Morris in the area of where the wallet was recovered, according to the report.
Police say they were able to track Morris on that video heading toward MLK Park, which also has surveillance cameras and police were able to determine Morris was wearing the same clothing identified by the witness who saw the crime. An image of Morris was released to the public and the police began receiving tips identifying Morris as the suspect, according to police.
In addition to the attempted murder charge, Morris is charged with committing a felony with a firearm, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and displaying a firearm during a felony.
He remained in the Manatee County jail on Monday on bonds totaling $165,000.
Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler said his detectives received numerous tips. Tyler said detectives recovered the gun used in the robbery at Morris’ home.
“We were concerned this was going to be the start of something because we haven’t had this type of robbery in quite some time in Palmetto,” Tyler said. “But our detectives did a nice job nipping this one in the bud.”
Tyler said it’s unclear if Morris deliberately shot the victim. He said there was a tussle between Morris and the victim, who was trying to get away before the shot was fired.