28-year-old Sarasota man charged in shooting that resulted in one death and injuries to 4 others

Two victims, including Auburn football player, cousins of Sarasota City Commissioner Battie

Darryl B. Brookins Jr. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

A 28-year-old Sarasota man has been charged with murder, committing a felony that could cause death, and a count of possessing a firearm as a felon in connection with a May 18 shooting that resulted in the death of Tommie L. Battie IV, 24, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has reported.

Darryl Bernard Brookins Jr., of 7621 15th St., Unit 2F, in Sarasota, was being held without bond in the county jail, the Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division noted on May 23. His arraignment has been scheduled for July 3, the record added.

Altogether, four shooting victims were transported to hospitals in Sarasota and Manatee counties following the May 18 incident, which occurred about 3:30 a.m. in the Tallywood Centre Plaza parking lot on 17th Street in Sarasota, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

One of those critically injured was Tommie Battie’s brother, Brian, a former football player at the University of South Florida who had transferred to Auburn University, sports writers noted in the aftermath of the shooting.

AL.com, an award-winning Alabama publication, noted in a May 18 article that Brian Battie is an Auburn running back. A Sarasota High School graduate, he set records at USF, AL.com added. “In 2021 he led the nation with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and tied an NCAA game record with two 100-yard returns in the same contest (a 54-42 loss to Houston),” AL.com reporters pointed out. “He became the [USF] Bulls’ sixth 1,000-yard rusher in 2022, collecting 1,186 yards and averaging nearly 100 per game before entering the NCAA transfer portal in January 2023,” they wrote.

During the May 20 Sarasota City Commission meeting, Commissioner Kyle Battie expressed his appreciation “to everybody that reached out to myself and my family for the tragedy that happened this weekend,” calling Tommie Battie his “little cousin,” and noting that Brian Battie was in the hospital along with a friend, “both fighting for their lives.”

Kyle Battie added, “The hospital lobby was packed [on Sunday], so much so that they had to get Security to kind of ask people to sort of get out of the lobby and filter outside. … It just shows the amount of love and support for our family and for those young men.”

Just after noon on May 20, Auburn football coach Hugh Freeze wrote on the X platform, “Auburn family. Please continue to pray for Brian Battie. There was a [setback] last night and he’s still on a ventilator.”

Moreover, during his commission meeting comments, Battie spoke of “how gun violence, you know, touches us all. … It behooves us as adults and as a community to sort of … pull back the reins on all of this and do what we can to quell this plague …”

Brookins, the alleged shooter, was arrested on the afternoon of May 22, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

His Probable Cause Affidavit says that “several individuals called 911 [on May 18] to report a shooting in the proximity of the Hookah Lounge Marrakech,” which is located at 3442 17th St. in Sarasota.

This is a photo of the Tallywood Centre Plaza. Image from the Loopnet.com website

Tommie Battie had “sustained a single gunshot wound to his chest and was pronounced deceased at the scene,” the affidavit adds. Brian Battie “was critically injured” when he sustained a “gunshot to his head,” the affidavit continues. “He was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for further treatment.”

The other three victims were identified as Lee A. Claridy, 36, a Black male; Tosha L. Johnson, 46, a Black female; and Broderick B. McDaniel, 38, a Black male, the affidavit says.

Video surveillance footage assists detectives

“Video footage from the surrounding businesses showed that the shooting took place at approximately [3:29 a.m.],” the affidavit continues.

A Black male, later identified as Brookins, was observed in the video to be leaning against the window of the Choice Vacuum business, the affidavit notes. As Tommie and Brian Battie began walking toward him, it continues, “Brookins immediately withdrew a firearm and began shooting at [them]. The Battie brothers both returned gunfire, at which point Brian is seen falling to the ground. Next,” the affidavit adds, “Tommie fell to the ground …”

The affidavit says that video footage showed Brookins fleeing east on 17th Street, on foot, “immediately following the shooting.”

Subsequently, the affidavit points out, detectives with the Sheriff’s Office received multiple tips through Crimestoppers, reporting that Brookins was the assailant.

The affidavit also notes that Brookins left his 1998 Chevrolet SUV at the crime scene; it “was located just west of the shooting location.”

The red balloon on this aerial map shows the location of Tallywood Centre Plaza in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps

Detectives compared Brookins’ driver’s license photo, along with “open-source social media accounts,” with the images in the surveillance footage of the incident, the affidavit says. They were able to positively identify Brookins, as a result, the affidavit adds.

Detectives then learned that Brookins had four prior felony convictions, the affidavit points out.

A Sarasota News Leader review of 12th Judicial Circuit Court records maintained by the Office of the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller found that, in April 2015, Brookins was charged with two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver the drug within 1,000 feet of a place of worship.

The Probable Cause Affidavit said that a Sheriff’s Office detective had received information from a confidential informant that a person who went by “DJ” was “selling rock cocaine” in Sarasota County. An undercover Sheriff’s Office detective arranged to meet Brookins at the intersection of Lime Avenue and Fruitville Road to purchase rock cocaine for $100, the affidavit explained. The transaction occurred within 240 feet of the Harvest House Tabarnacle Church, which stands at 209 Lime Ave., the affidavit pointed out. Brookins ended up pleading “No contest” in that case, court records show.

Almost exactly two years later, court records say, Brookins was charged with two new felony counts involving marijuana; one of those involved the intent to sell, manufacture or deliver the drug.

He also entered a “No contest” plea in that case, the docket shows. He was sentenced to 24 months in the Department of Corrections.

In August 2020, Brookins was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a weapon as a convicted felon.

Then, in January 2022, he was charged with a misdemeanor count of simple domestic battery. That followed the victim’s allegation that he had slapped her face during an argument, the affidavit explained. Further, that affidavit noted, the victim was reported to be Brookins’ former girlfriend, with whom he shared a child.

In May 2022, the State Attorney’s Office for the 12th Judicial District declined to pursue that case, a court document said.

Brookins also has been cited for a number of traffic infractions, including careless driving and running a stop sign, the records show.

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