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Man shot and killed by Sarasota Police on Monday identified

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  • | 10:10 a.m. February 26, 2024
  • | Updated 12:00 p.m. February 28, 2024
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A man shot and killed in his car by Sarasota Police Monday morning has been identified as the suspect of a robbery on Saturday of a Fifth-Third Bank branch at 6265 Tuttle Ave. near University Parkway in Sarasota County.

The incident occurred at around 7:50 a.m. on University Parkway just east of the intersection of U.S. 41 as SPD officers attempted to arrest 54-year-old William Michael Pickett, having identified the suspect’s vehicle as involved in the robbery. 

Details about why the officers shot or how the tan Cadillac ended up in a pond next to University Parkway have not been released. When the submerged car was pulled from the pond, multiple bullet holes through the windshield were observed.

“One of our officers initiated a traffic stop on a subject’s vehicle with a Sarasota County warrant, and in the process of trying to get that subject into custody an officer-involved shooting occurred,” said SPD Public Information Officer Cynthia McLaughlin.

Officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, as is department policy, and the case is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Pickett was wanted on charges of robbery with a firearm and grand theft of more than $10,000 and less than $20,000. 

After the shooting, University Parkway was closed between Bradenton Road and U.S. 41 in both directions for several hours as multiple law enforcement agencies took part in securing the scene.

Some frustrated motorists trying to find their way to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport asked media members, gathered in the Ringling Museum lawn across University Parkway from the scene, for directions to the terminal. 

Agencies that assisted the SPD in securing the scene and initiating the investigation included the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, Sarasota County Fire and Rescue, New College Campus Police Department, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport Police Department and the FDLE. 

As the investigating agency, any additional details regarding the incident will be released only by the FDLE.

“We've got a lot of agencies working together,” McLaughlin said. “We want this investigation to be done right and quickly, so there are a lot of channels that have to be approved as far as disseminating information.”

This story has been updated throughout to include background on the suspect and details of the shooting.


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