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

MANATEE — A man Thursday evenning shot his former girlfriend in Bradenton, before fleeing across the Manatee River on the Green Bridge and killing himself in Palmetto, according to authorities.

Law enforcement first became aware of what had happened about 8 p.m. when a Manatee County Sheriff's Office detective saw a woman "roll out of a vehicle" near the intersection of Ninth Street West and Manatee Avenue West in downtown Bradenton, according to a sheriff's office news release issued just before midnight.

"The female pointed toward the driver of the vehicle, who sped off toward the Green Bridge," the news release states.

The detective pursued the car to attempt a traffic stop.

The driver, later identified as Kristopher Foster, 31, swerved off the road in the 400 block of Eighth Avenue West, Palmetto, near a Marathon gas station.

Deputies found Foster dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The 34-year-old woman who had been riding with him had been shot in the abdomen. Her injuries were considered to be non-life-threatening, said sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow.

The sheriff's office said Foster and the woman, who used to be boyfriend and girlfriend, met in Palmetto on Thursday evening, when Foster shot her.

"He was supposed to be taking her to the hospital when the detective saw her roll out of the vehicle," the news release states. "It isn’t clear at this time whether she was thrown from the vehicle or she was trying to escape."

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

“It was a crime that occurred 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 appears Foster had been trying to take the woman to Manatee Memorial Hospital.

The police chief said when Foster drove past the hospital, the woman began to panic. She escaped from the car and ran toward the vehicle behind them, which happened to be driven by a sheriff’s detective.

The pursuit that followed ended behind the Marathon gas station in Palmetto.

The incident spurred several law enforcement roadblocks in downtown Bradenton and at the gas station.

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 along Ninth Street West between Third Avenue West and Manatee Avenue West and beyond to the south. Multiple officers were on scene, including some directing traffic.

Bay New 9 contributed to this report.