Investigation continuing into Dec. 30 shooting that killed one person at Ackerman Park

Even though park closes at sunset, detectives learn of presence of 40 to 50 people there during late-night incident

This aerial map shows the location of Ackerman Park, near Interstate 75 in the eastern part of the county. Image from Google Maps

At 1:46 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2021, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office announced that it was investigating a shooting that had occurred just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 29 at Ackerman Park, which is located at 400 Apex Road in Sarasota.

An 18-year-old male “was struck and killed by gunfire,” Patrol Operations Lt. Mike Dumer wrote in a news release. Detectives and crime scene personnel were at the location, conducting an investigation, Dumer added.

“The shooting appears to be an isolated incident and it is believed that there is no danger to the general public,” Dumer pointed out.

Later in the morning of Dec. 30, Megan Krahe, media relations specialist for the Sheriff’s Office, issued an update on the incident, noting that, based on their preliminary investigation, detectives had determined that “a large group of 40 to 50 people were gathered in the park when several gunshots were fired, one of which struck the victim in the back. No other injuries were reported.”

The victim’s family had opted to keep his identity confidential, as allowed by the state’s Marsy’s Law, Krahe added.

The time of death for the victim, who was at 100 Coburn Road, was 11:23 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office report. The address is that of the Fruitville Public Library, which is near the park. Next of kin were notified at 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2021, the report noted.

This aerial map shows the proximity of the Fruitville Public Library to Ackerman Park. Image from Google Maps

Detectives were continuing to interview witnesses, Krahe continued.

Three witnesses named in the initial report were ages 18 and 19. Two live in Sarasota, the report said, while the third lives in Bradenton. Two were female, the report added.

In a Jan. 6 update, at the request of The Sarasota News Leader, Krahe wrote, “I want to note that our detectives have interviewed several witnesses and are continuing to follow up on any tips they receive. Forensic personnel are also examining all potential evidence to develop investigative leads. We still encourage anyone with information to contact us at 941-861-4900 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 941-366-TIPS.”

Additional information will be released when the agency is able to take that step, Krahe added.

Sarasota County’s website says Ackerman Park is open from 6 a.m. to sunset each day. Among its amenities, its county webpage says, are birding, fishing and picknicking. It has a playground, a shelter/pavilion and an unpaved trail, the webpage notes.