- July 3, 2013
Sarasota Police on Monday morning reported the arrest of a 15-year-old in connection with a shooting Saturday night at the Sarasota County Fair.
The suspect, who the Observer is not naming because of his age, was charged with three felonies: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill; culpable negligence and brandishing a firearm in public. Police said he was arrested at his home early Monday.
The shooting suspect knows the 18-year-old victim, police said, adding the incident was believed to have resulted from an escalating altercation between two groups and was not a random shooting. The victim was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital with serious injuries and was stable following surgery, the police said on Monday.
Detectives have learned that additional shots were fired in the air in the event parking lot following the incident, though those shots were deemed unrelated, police said.
Video footage from Saturday night at the fair posted on social media depicted moments of panic as fairgoers scrambled for safety.
Genevieve Judge, a spokeswoman for the Sarasota Police, said her agency was working with the Sarasota County Fair Board to ensure safety at the event, which opened Friday and runs through March 28 at the fairgrounds on Fruitville Road.
Judge said the department would increase the presence of uniformed officers at the fair and work with the Fair Board on further security measures.
A private security service was to begin searching bags and using metal-detecting wands on fair patrons before admitting them to the fair.
Police reported the shooting took place around 10 p.m. at the fair.
Anyone with information or video is asked to contact the Sarasota Police Criminal Investigations Division at 941-263-6070 or Crime Stoppers of Sarasota County at 941-366-TIPS (8477), or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.