SARASOTA, Fla. - As Sarasota police detectives investigate two separate shootings in the past two days, the chief said she has grown concern over the number of gun violence cases since the city declared a state of emergency for COVID-19 on March 13.
Since that day, police have responded to 39 incidents where shots were fired. In six of the 39 cases, a person had non-life threatening injuries, according to the agency.
"I'm concerned about the safety of our community and our officers," said Chief DiPino in a statement. "Gun violence impacts the physical and mental wellbeing of our citizens and police officers. We need the community's help to end these shootings. I am worried innocent children and bystanders who can be hurt by a stray bullet. The fear of serious harm is real."
On August 1, around 11:30 p.m., Sarasota police responded to a reported aggravated assault at a block party in the 1700 block of 23rd Street. About 200 people were there, officials said.
Some witnesses outside said they heard shots fired, police said. A victim, with non-life threatening injuries, tested positive for the coronavirus and an officer was exposed after rendering aid, investigators said.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 941-263-6070. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-8477 or heading to www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.
As far as the most recent shootings, the first took place Sunday around 6:25 p.m. in the 3000 block of Old Bradenton Road. Officers said, according to witnesses, they were standing in a driveway when a grey Chrysler 300 drove by and an unknown individual fired shots in their direction.
Police said shell casings and a live round was found in the road. There were no injuries.
The second shooting occurred Monday around 8:45 p.m. in the 2800 block of Palmadelia Avenue. When officers arrived, they said they found a bullet hole in the side of the home.
There were no reported injuries. A bullet was found on the floor of the home and shell casings were located in the road.