As hotel seeks new security company, town police fill in on their own time.
Off-duty Longboat Key police officers are serving as security officers for the Zota Beach Resort as the hotel's operator looks to find a long-term private security company.
Zota, which opened in late June, ended its affiliation with Victory Security, the previous security provider, after the Aug. 4 shootings that killed a Victory Security guard and a night desk manager.
Darryl Hanna, himself a former Victory Security guard, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the case. Since his arrest Aug. 9, he has been held without bond in the Manatee County jail. He faces an arraignment hearing on Friday, Aug. 22.
Longboat Key Police Chief Peter Cumming said Ocean Properties, the parent company of Zota, is paying for the security officers, who work the security shifts while off-duty from the town. Officers from Bradenton Beach are also working security at the resort. It isn't unusual for police officers to take secondary jobs working for private security companies, Cumming said.
The town isn't committing any financial or time commitments to Zota, Cumming said
"We want their attention to be focused on Longboat Key,'' he said. "Losing two guys is about 10% of our force."
Timothy Hurley, 59, of Sarasota was killed along with security guard Kevin Carter, 51, of Bradenton in the robbery-homicide. In court documents, authorities allege Hanna entered the hotel lobby around 2:40 a.m. in an attempt to rob the front desk. Cumming said in a news conference about $900 was taken.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, an employee of Zota contacted police after security camera video was released, saying the man on the video appeared to be Hanna, based on the mannerisms, walking style and general body appearance of the man on the video. The employee said he had worked directly with Hanna on several occasions. The caller went on to say that Hanna had told him he was not making enough money as a part-time employee of Victory, though he had asked his supervisor for more hours. The caller also said Hanna would have knowledge of the hotel front desk cash drawers and safe.
The shooting was the first on Longboat since 2000 and just the third homicide in more than 30 years.
The investigation is continuing.
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