MANATEE -- Right before shots were fired near Groover’s Market on Saturday afternoon, hundreds were gathered in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream of peace and non-violence.
After a parade, some neighbors were enjoying barbecue and others were catching up with friends in the moments leading up to the gunfire that left two injured starting at about 4:40 p.m.
The first shot stuck a 52-year-old woman in the left knee as she was in the parking lot of Groover’s Market, 111 17th St. E, according to a media release.
As deputies arrived, people were running from the grocery store and three more gunshots were heard from the area of the 1500 block of First Avenue East. When they responded, deputies found a 23-year-old man on the side of a property in 200 block of 17th Street West with gunshot wounds to his left arm and left side of his body, a release said.
The man was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, and the female victim was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital.
The male victim is currently in stable condition, according to Dave Bristow, spokesman for the sheriff’s office. He said the woman’s injuries were not life threatening.
“Martin Luther King is rolling over in this grave right now,” said Sheba, 47, one of the people who was enjoying a family outing Saturday.
“I’m heartbroken,” said Sheba, who would only give her first name.
As deputies investigated, people lined up around 17th Street East trying to figure out what happened.
A suspect was not located, according to the sheriff’s office.
“We would love the community to step up. We know someone out there knows exactly what happened,’ Bristow said.
Bristow said investigators have a fairly good idea about what happened but community involvement would help lead them to an arrest quicker.
Anyone with information about the shooting can call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.