MANATEE -- A Bradenton teenager was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 2013 shooting outside the Palmetto Youth Center.
Wesley Blanc, 17, was found guilty May 1 of aggravated assault with a firearm.
At about 2:30 p.m. Sept. 21, 2013, a car with Blanc and others inside stopped in front of the Palmetto Youth Center, 501 17th St. W. Two of them got out of the car and fired shots at two people leaving the parking lot on foot, according to authorities.
There were no injuries in the shooting, but bullets struck a parked car and a tree.
Officers and other witnesses said they saw the suspects' car head west on 17th Street West. An ensuing chase ended in the 1600 block of 26th Avenue East, Bradenton, with assistance from the Bradenton Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Police recovered two guns from the car.
Blanc was sentenced by Circuit Judge Diana Moreland during a hearing Wednesday afternoon. Based on the circumstances of the case, Moreland ruled she would sentence Blanc as an adult to a minimum mandatory 20 years in prison.
Moreland said Blanc will likely be released on his 35th or 36th birthday. Her hope was that by then, he realizes this type of behavior is not appropriate, she said.
Defense attorney Jorge Angulo had argued that to charge Blanc as an adult and to send him to prison would amount to throwing him away. Instead, the defense
argued Blanc should be sentenced as a youthful offender.
Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro described Blanc's actions when he pulled out a gun during a children's event to be that of a very dangerous individual.
Based on the jury's decision, Moreland said it is clear it was Blanc who got out of the car that day and fired his weapon into the crowd. Moreland went on to describe how the shooting was planned, detailing how Blanc and the others had followed their intended target.
Also charged in the case were Darion Lazier, 25, and Chris Jackson, 19.
During the same trial, Lazier was found not guilty of accessory after the fact, but was found guilty of fleeing and attempting to elude. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, followed by three years of probation.
Jackson was found not guilty of accessory after the fact and not guilty of tampering.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.