Victim, who suffered wounds to right arm and buttocks, waives prosection
A 15-year-old North Port resident was arrested following a late-night shooting in the Siesta Public Beach parking lot on May 7, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has reported.
Julien Williams formally was taken into custody just after 3 a.m. on May 8 at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Cattleridge Boulevard in Sarasota, the formal report said. A full-time county resident, Julien was a student at North Port High School, the report added.
Following the incident at the Siesta Public Beach Park, the victim “was assisted into an unknown vehicle with the help of [a] friend and several other people,” the report pointed out. Deputies later went to Fire Station 13 on Siesta Key, which is operating out of temporary quarters in a commercial building just south of the beach park, after learning that the victim was taken there.
The victim suffered gunshot wounds to his right arm and the right side of his buttocks, the report said. He was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital “for further medical care,” the report added.
The victim was not identified; the report cited Marsy’s Law, part of the Florida Statutes, which allows victims of crimes to keep their names confidential.
The Sheriff’s Office initially charged Julien with Aggravated Battery with use of a deadly weapon. However, Community Affairs Director Kaitlyn R. Perez told The Sarasota News Leader on May 13 that the victim had signed a waiver of prosecution. That means no charges are pending against Julien, she added, and the State Attorney’s Office for the 12th Judicial District will not be reviewing the case, either.
The News Leader found no prior arrests or citations for Julien in a search of the records maintained by the Sarasota County Clerk of Court and County Comptroller.
A deputy initially took Julien into custody at the intersection of Higel Avenue and Cedar Park Circle, the report said. Julien “matched the description of the suspect [in the shooting] provided by several witnesses on scene,” the report noted.
After an officer transported Julien to the Sheriff’s Office’s Cattleridge Boulevard headquarters, the report said, “he invoked his rights and did not wish to answer any questions.”
Another officer then contacted Julien’s mother. After she arrived at headquarters, the report added, she “attempted to speak to her son about the incident; during their conversation he never denied his involvement in the shooting.”
Julien was released into the custody of his 34-year-old mother, the report added.
How the incident unfolded
Just after 11:30 p.m. on May 7, the report explained, deputies already were at the beach park — located at 948 Beach Road on Siesta Key — investigating a call about a noise disturbance. They heard multiple gunshots from the other side of the parking lot, the report added, and several bystanders told one deputy that the suspect had been seen running northbound, toward 1001 Beach Road, “with a gun in his hand.”
The latter address is the location of Our House at the Beach by Tropical Sands Accommodations, which is across from the beach park.
The suspect was described as a white male wearing a white shirt and red pants, the report noted.
During a formal interview at the hospital, the report said, the victim told an officer that “he was hanging out at Siesta Key near the main entrance [to the beach park],” on the sidewalk, when he was shot. The victim indicated that he did not know the assailant, the report said. He was able to describe the shooter to the officer.
Prior to the shooting, the victim added, “he witnessed the same suspect brandishing a handgun …” The victim also reported that the suspect “was hanging out” with another person whom the victim did not know, who was a Black male, “when this shooting took place.”
A witness told an officer that she saw the shooting as she was standing on her fifth-floor balcony. Moments before Julien allegedly fired the gun, she said, she had seen him talking to the victim and a friend of the victim “at the corner entrance” to the parking lot, off Beach Road.
As the victim and his friend were walking away, toward the south, the witness added, the suspect pulled out a handgun “and shot several rounds towards the victim and his friend.”
When the officer spoke to other witnesses on the scene, the report said, “[T]hey all provided a similar clothing and physical description of the suspect.”
Locating the suspect
Another officer wrote in a separate narrative that he was driving northbound on Higel Avenue in his marked patrol vehicle, approaching Cedar Park Circle, when he spotted a white male juvenile on a black bicycle with no lights, heading north on the Higel Avenue sidewalk; the person matched witnesses’ description.
The deputy drove past the teen and made a U-turn, the report added.
At first, the report continued, the officer no longer could see the young man. The officer checked the area along the sidewalk from north of Cedar Park Circle to Midnight Pass Road without finding the teen, the report added.
Then the officer turned around at the intersection of Midnight Pass Road and Higel Avenue and began heading north on Higel. When he turned onto Cedar Park Circle to check for the youth, the report continued, the officer saw a small median with trees separating the entrance of Cedar Park Circle from its exit. After turning onto the street, the report said, the officer made a U-turn around the median. Then, the officer saw the youth in the exit lane, on the opposite side of the median, behind the trees. “It appeared the subject saw me make the initial u-turn, and turned down Cedar Park Circle in an attempt to conceal himself from me,” the deputy wrote.
After the officer approached the teen, the report said, the young man identified himself as Julien Williams. He was riding a girl’s “black Canondale bicycle with a mirror attached to the left [handlebar],” the report noted. The officer then explained that he had stopped Julien because the young man was riding a bicycle with no lights.
When the officer asked Julien if he was a resident of the area, Julien replied that he was staying with a friend on 22nd Street in Sarasota, the report continued. When the officer then asked how Julien had traveled to Siesta Key, Julien told him that “he was with a group of friends but he ‘lost them.’”
In response to the officer’s request for the teen’s address and phone number, the report said, Julien gave the officer a North Port address and asked the officer to contact his mother to come to Siesta to pick him up. The mother did not answer the phone when the officer tried calling her, the report added, so he left her a voicemail, asking that she call him back.
At that point, the narrative continued, the officer called a sergeant, who “provided a more detailed description of the suspect obtained through the [shooting] investigation. The suspect was described as a white male with ‘poofy’ hair, wearing a white t-shirt and red jogging pants.”
The officer told the sergeant that Julien matched that description.
Then the officer spoke with a detective, who asked him to transport Julien to the Sheriff’s Office headquarters.
The officer did not question Julien about the shooting, the report said. “I transported [him] to headquarters without incident,” the officer wrote.
The officer did issue Julien a warning in regard to riding the bike without lights, the report noted.
At the conclusion of his contact with Julien, the officer added, “I determined there was probable cause to charge [him] with loitering and prowling,” as Julien had attempted to conceal himself from law enforcement officers “and did not have a legitimate reason for being in the area he was in at the hour he was contacted,” which was after 2:30 a.m.
After members of the Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Section and Forensics units arrived at the beach parking lot, the other report noted, they found “several empty .380 caliber casings.” With use of a K9 unit, the report added, officers located a 9mm Glock handgun in the rear of the building standing at 1001 Beach Road, the report said.