Suspect has not been identified in what police call an attempted robbery.
The search is on for a “street thug’’ after an overnight robbery at the Zota Beach Resort on Longboat Key ended with the shooting deaths of a night manager and a security guard.
Police released security video connected with the incident, showing a man in dark slacks and an untucked white shirt walking through the lobby of the hotel, which opened in late June on the north end of Longboat Key. Investigators are looking not only at video but also the island’s license-plate recognition system.
Cumming identified the victims as Timothy Hurley, the hotel's 59-year-old night desk manager from Sarasota, and 51-year-old Kevin Carter of Bradenton, a security guard with Victory Security, a private security company with offices in North Palm Beach and Naples. Responding police officers found their bodies inside the hotel.
Cumming said a reward of $18,000 has been offered collectively by Zota, Manatee CrimeStoppers and the Florida Sheriff's Association for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the crime.
"This was a street thug looking for money,'' Cumming said, adding that the incident might have been a crime of opportunity. The hotel operates a restaurant and bar, open to the public. The robbery took place around 2:40 a.m. Friday, and a guest called 911 around 3:30 a.m. to report the incident.
Guests were escorted from the resort throughout the morning. It was closed while investigators collected evidence and interviewed guests about what they might have seen or heard.
Cumming said there was no reason for panic.
"There are no more risks on this island today then there were yesterday,'' he said.
The last homicide on Longboat Key took place in 2000. In that case, a Linley Street man was found beaten to death in his home. The previous homicide had taken place 14 years before that.
Neighbors and guests of nearby resorts were stunned when they woke up on Friday.
"It's a picturesque place to be,'' said Adam Freeman, who lives in St. Petersburg but was watching the investigation unfold from behind police lines. "It's crazy. It's the last place you'd expect this. Last night, we were saying there was no crime around here.''
Onlookers said they were startled by the sound and sight of helicopters this morning.
"Our jaws dropped,'' said Ron Raczak, who is staying nearby on a vacation from Dayton, Ohio. "Heard nothing, it's just wild. This kind of stuff doesn't happen in Longboat.
"It's funny because I was up at 3 to get something to eat and didn't hear anything."
Zota opened on June 23 at the site of the former Hilton and is owned by Ocean Properties, a Delray Beach-based company that also owns the Resort at Longboat Key Club, Lido Beach Holiday Inn, Lido Beach Resort and Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach,.
Observer reporters Ryan Butler and Anna Brugmann contributed to this report.
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