Witness reports that suspect cut internet cables outside the home because he believes he is ‘being tracked by unknown people’
A 30-year-old Jacksonville man has been arrested and charged with murder following an early-morning shooting at a single-family residence, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reported on April 19.
Patrick Charles Eckardt is being held without bond in the Sarasota County Jail, formally charged with Homicide: Murder Dangerous Depraved without Premeditation, the agency’s Corrections Division reports show.
His arraignment is scheduled for May 27.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on April 19, the Sheriff’s Office’s Emergency Operations Center received a 911 call regarding a shooting in the 2500 block of Green Oak Court in Sarasota, the Probable Cause Affidavit says. The street is in the Colonial Oaks community, between Cattlemen Road and Honore Avenue.
When deputies arrived at the home, they found a deceased 64-year-old man who had several gunshot wounds, a Sheriff’s Office news release adds. Eckardt immediately was identified as the suspect, the release notes; Eckardt “was visiting the home where the incident took place.”
“Although the incident is domestic in nature,” the news release notes, “the family of the victim opted into privacy rights afforded through Marsy’s Law, and as such, his identity will not be released. The investigation is ongoing.”
The person who called 911 reported that Eckardt had shot the victim, the affidavit says, and the victim “was lying on the ground, bleeding.” A person whose name was redacted in the affidavit also reported that Eckardt was “having a mental breakdown.”
Operators learned during the call that the gun was a pistol, but no one was able to provide a description of it, the affidavit continued.
According to witnesses, the news release said, Eckardt was cutting internet cables outside the home before the shooting occurred. Eckardt “believes he’s being followed and tracked by unknown people,” a witness told deputies.
When that witness confronted Eckardt about the damage to the cables, “Patrick walked over to his truck and grabbed a pair of yard clippers and began clipping more wires; however, at some point Patrick armed himself with a handgun which was holstered and worn on his waistband,” the affidavit said.
The person who had confronted Eckardt went inside the residence to tell another person “what was going on,” the affidavit continued. That discussion led to an altercation between Eckardt and the victim, the affidavit adds.
Eckardt shot the victim “several times before walking away for a brief moment, but shortly thereafter he returned and shot the entire magazine of ammunition into [the victim],” the affidavit added.
A law enforcement BOLO [be on the lookout] was issued for Eckardt and his vehicle, the affidavit noted. At 2:15 a.m. on April 19, a Sheriff’s Office sergeant spotted Eckardt’s Silver F-250 headed westbound on Fruitville Road and stopped it. “During this encounter,” the affidavit continued, “Patrick made an utterance that the gun was in the glove box.” He and his vehicle then were transported to the Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Cattleridge Boulevard in Sarasota, the affidavit said.
Detectives later executed a search warrant on the truck and recovered a firearm from the glove box, the news release pointed out.
Eckardt told detectives that he shot the victim in self-defense “after being involved in a verbal altercation which led to physical violence,” the affidavit added. During that altercation, the narrative said, Patrick told detectives that the victim “punched him in the face several times before pulling out and using pepper spray on him …” However, the affidavit pointed out, the detectives said that Eckardt “did not appear to have any injuries consistent [with] what he described.”
Eckardt then told the detectives that “he may have gone too far by shooting [the victim] more than he should have,” the affidavit said. Nonetheless, Eckardt also reported that the altercation had resulted in his “feeling complete rage.”
As Jacksonville is the county seat of Duval County, The Sarasota News Leader checked the records maintained by the Duval County Clerk of Court to learn whether Eckardt had any criminal history in that county. A search failed to find any cases.