53-year-old woman charged with shooting at people — including ex-husband — outside Connors restaurant at Westfield Siesta Key mall

Defendant in jail under $205,500 bond

Sarah Gail Charles. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

A 53-year-old Sarasota woman has been charged with two, third-degree felony counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon without Intent to Kill and two first-degree misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed weapon, following an Oct. 30 incident at the Westfield Siesta Key mall, the Sarasota Police Department has reported.

No one was injured, although multiple shots were fired, Genevieve Judge, the Police Department’s public information officer, pointed out in a news release this week.

The mall is located at 3501 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

Officers arrested Sarah Gail Charles of 2351 Mango Ave. after responding to the scene just after 10 p.m. on Oct. 30, the release added. The incident occurred in the parking lot in front of Connors Steak & Seafood restaurant, Judge noted.

(Mango Avenue is located north of 17th Street in Sarasota.)

One of the victims identified himself as Charles’ ex-husband, the Police Department report also pointed out.

Charles remained in the Sarasota County jail on Nov. 2, the Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Division records showed. Her total bond was listed as $205,500 bond, with her arraignment scheduled for Dec. 11, the Corrections Division record said.

Charles was unemployed at the time of her arrest, the record noted.

During their investigation at the mall, Judge pointed out, officers found two .38 caliber shell casings in the parking lot and a Ruger LCP 380 handgun inside a purse that belonged to Charles. “Officers also found that the firearm was loaded with a round in the chamber,” Judge wrote.

Details of the incident

An aerial map shows the location of Westfield Siesta Key, with Connors restaurant facing Siesta Drive. Image from Google Maps

On Oct. 30, “[d]ispatchers told officers that multiple people called to say someone fired gunshots in the [Westfield Siesta Key] parking lot,” Judge added in the news release.

When officers arrived, Judge continued, “they observed a loud verbal argument” involving a group of people. “Two victims came forward,” Judge continued; they pointed at Charles and said, “‘She was the one that just shot at us.’”

One victim told officers she was walking toward her vehicle in the parking lot when she saw Charles standing between a white BMW and a blue Porsche, the Police Department report said. The victim — who was not identified — added that Charles yelled, “#itch, I’m going to shoot you.” The victim told officers that she yelled something back to Charles, and then she saw Charles dump “the contents of her purse onto the trunk of the white BMW,” the report said.

The victim added that she saw Charles pick up a gun that apparently had been in the purse, “pull the slide to the rear and point the gun at [the victim],” the report continued. Charles “fired two shots at her from approximately seven (7) feet away but missed,” the victim told the officers, according to the report.

At that point, the victim said, Charles “walked up to her while still pointing the gun in her face,” the report continued. The victim “slapped [Charles’] arm,” the report added, and then the victim “grabbed her phone and called 911.”

A person with that victim told the officers that Charles also fired one shot at him but missed.

Another person, identified in the report as the second victim, said he was standing in the parking lot outside Connors “when he saw [Charles] show up,” the report added. That victim went inside the restaurant to find a friend, the report continued. When that victim and his friend walked outside, the report added, the victim said he spotted Charles standing between the white BMW and the blue Porsche. He also told the officers that he saw Charles dump the contents of her purse onto the trunk of the BMW and pick up a gun. That victim added that Charles fired in his direction three times but missed, the report continued. The second victim further told the officers that “he was in fear for his life [because Charles] is his ex-wife.”

Connors Steak & Seafood is close to one section of the parking lot at the mall. Image from the Westfield Siesta Key website

Further, two witnesses completed writtten statements, saying that they observed Charles shoot at the persons in the parking lot, the report said.

“It should be noted that Charles’ natural hair color is black,” the report noted. However, the report continued, “[O]n this date and time, Charles had a blonde wig, was wearing a black and gold dress, and did not have any shoes.”

The officer who wrote the report’s narrative also pointed out that when he arrived on the scene, he “exited [his] vehicle with [his] department issued firearm at a low ready position.”

He added that both victims “yelled at me and pointed towards [Charles], identifying her as the shooter,” the report noted.

Charles then “placed her hands in the air and walked towards [the officer],” the report said. He placed her in handcuffs “and escorted her away from the crime scene,” the report continued. Several other officers then arrived at the location, the report noted.

During their investigation, officers “located two empty .380 shell casings on the ground in the parking lot,” the report said. “Officers located a pink and black firearm in the defendant’s purse. The .380 shell casings on the ground matched the ammunition in the [gun’s] magazine,” the report added.

Both victims told officers that the firearm was pink and black, the report noted.

The officer who wrote the narrative did point out that he found an expired conceal carry weapons (CCW) permit in Charles’ purse.

After Charles was arrested, officers transported her to the Saraosta County Jail in downtown Sarasota, the report noted.

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