Crime

Sheriff: Man shoots ex-girlfriend; kills self in Palmetto after pursuit

MANATEE -- A suspect fleeing from law enforcement drove across the Green Bridge about 8:30 p.m. Thursday and shot himself once he reached the Palmetto side Thursday night, according to Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler.

"There was a domestic shooting where the suspect shot his girlfriend and later shot himself," wrote Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow in an email. "The girlfriend apparently has nonlife-threatening injuries."

The victim was taken to a hospital for a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The incident spurred multiple blockades in downtown Bradenton and a Marathon gas station at 440 Eighth Ave. W., Palmetto. Roughly 10 law enforcement units surrounded the gas station, including fire and ambulance vehicles.

Tyler, who is in Orlando at a conference, said his department is assisting in the case.

"It was a crime that oc

curred either in the city of Bradenton or south side of the bridge in the county," he said. "The suspect fled north into Palmetto on the bridge."

Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said it looked like the suspect and his girlfriend broke up. He shot her and then told her he was going to take her to the hospital. The police chief said he when drove past the hospital his girlfriend began to panic. She escaped from the car and ran toward the vehicle behind them, which happened to be a sheriff's deputy.

The pursuit that followed ended behind a Marathon gas station, where the suspect shot himself, according to officials.

"The guy came into Palmetto and evidently pulled over and shot himself," Tyler said. "That's why the bridge and Eighth Avenue is closed."

In downtown Bradenton, a Manatee County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle was parked at the intersection of Third Avenue West and 10th Street West, its lights illuminating the faces of curious motorists passing by.

Traffic was blocked by sheriff's office vehicles and Bradenton police vehicles on Ninth Street West from Third Avenue West all the way to Manatee Avenue and beyond. Multiple officers were on scene, including some directing traffic.

Bay New 9 contributed to this report.

Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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