Video surveillance key to arrest
A 15-year-old Punta Gorda resident has been charged with Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon in connection with the July 24 shooting that occurred near a rental house on St. Armands Key, the Sarasota Police Department has reported.
Antonio L. Morris, of 517 Hiram St., in Punta Gorda, was ordered to be taken to the Sarasota County Juvenile Detention Center, which is located at 2020 Main St. in Sarasota, following his July 28 arrest, according to materials provided with his Probable Cause Affidavit.
In a news release, the Police Department pointed out that, according to Florida Statute 985.04 (2)(a)1, “information about juveniles charged with felonies is public record.”
The incident was reported at 12:32 a.m. on July 24 in the 300 block of Jackson Drive on St. Armands, the affidavit notes. The site is near the intersection of South Washington Drive, a map shows.
Patrol officers with the Police Department, who responded to the scene, learned that two victims had sustained gunshot wounds and had been transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, the affidavit adds.
While canvassing the area for video surveillance, the affidavit continues, detectives were able to obtain one video that showed a person, whose name was redacted, walking eastbound on the sidewalk of Jackson Drive. As the person proceeded, gunshots could be heard and the person began to run, the affidavit notes. “As more gunshots are heard,” the affidavit adds, that person “is seen collapsing to the ground.”
Then the video showed a male with a “skinny build” and long dreadlocks, wearing a purple shirt, blue jeans and white shoes, running across a parcel where a residential building was under construction, the affidavit says. The video showed the black male holding a rifle in his right hand as he cut across that property and ran past the body that was still on the ground, the affidavit continues.
After further investigation, the affidavit says, detectives learned about a white Cadillac, with a Florida license tag, that had been seen in the area during the time of the shooting. The detectives had knowledge of that vehicle, the affidavit adds, as it had been seen in connection with a prior shooting incident; the driver had fled from law enforcement officers “multiple times.”
Then, on July 27, the affidavit notes, Sarasota Police Department detectives learned that Venice Police Department officers had taken custody of the Cadillac and the driver, as the driver was wanted in a separate case. The driver was identified as Antonio Morris, the affidavit notes.
One Sarasota Police Department detective sent Venice detectives a video of the St. Armands shooting, the affidavit continues. After viewing that video, the affidavit adds, the Venice detectives informed the Sarasota detective that Morris fit the physical characteristics of the suspect in the video.
Sarasota detectives traveled to Venice, the affidavit says, where they interviewed Morris. Following that interview, they decided to charge him in connection with the St. Armands incident, the affidavit adds. The affidavit was marked to show that Morris admitted to the illegal act. And that he had been arrested in the past. Other checks on the affidavit show that both Morris and his mother were cooperative with the detectives.
The affidavit lists Wilmary Torres of Nokomis as the mother.
“This case remains active and ongoing,” a Police Department news release said. Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call the Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 941-263-6070, leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS, or going online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.