Sheriff’s detectives investigating fatal shooting in Palmetto

MANATEE -- Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating the slaying of a 19-year-old man who was gunned down Sunday night in Palmetto.

Ledarius Watkins was found by deputies lying on the floor at a residence in the 700 block of 20th Lane East. Deputies had heard several gun shots in the Oakwood area in the 900 block of 21st Street East.

When they found Watkins inside Highland Apartments, they began CPR and paramedics took over. Watkins was pronounced dead a short time later.

Watkins’ friend, who was at the residence, told deputies she didn’t see anything. She said she only heard gunshots.

“We don’t have a lot of information,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Dave Bristow, who said detectives are following up on leads. Watkins has no local arrest history, Bristow said.

Authorities declined to give out where Watkins was shot or further details.

This year throughout the county, there have been 17 homicide investigations. A vast majority of those cases were shootings.

Out of 17 investigations, 10 remain open without arrests. Three cases were ruled self-defense and won’t be included in statewide statistics.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 to reach Detective Stephen Ives at ext. 2493, or Detective Debra Kirkland at ext. 2557. Callers can remain anonymous.

Manatee County Crime Stoppers will possibly offer a cash reward for information at (866) 634-TIPS (8477).