Hazardous Device Unit clears scene about two hours later
An argument at a business in Gulf Gate on Oct. 19 led to a report of a bomb threat, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department has reported.
About 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 19, a male ended up engaging in a verbal altercation with patrons at Hurricane Mikes Saloon, which is located at 2639 Mall Drive, a Sheriff’s Office advisory said.
While exiting the establishment, the advisory added, the suspect “made several statements about having a bomb in his backpack.
“This prompted several calls to 911,” the advisory pointed out. “The Sarasota Sheriff’s Office quickly responded, identified the suspect and took him into custody. The backpack was left in the middle of the road near Mall Drive and Gateway Avenue,” the advisory continued. The immediate area was cleared, as well as some nearby establishments, the advisory noted.
“Out of an abundance of caution,” the Sheriff’s Office’s Hazardous Device Unit was called to the scene for an examination of the backpack, the advisory added.
Until the scene was cleared, the advisory said, officers were asking motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area.
At 9:36 p.m. on Oct. 19, an update reported, “The backpack has been cleared. The intersection of Mall Drive and Gateway Avenue is now open.”
On the morning of Oct. 20, The Sarasota News Leader asked Kaitlyn R. Perez, community affairs director with the Sheriff’s Office, whether any further information was available at that time.
After checking with the Investigations division, she responded via email that she did not have “any significant updates beyond what was issued last night in the flash report by our Lieutenant.”
Perez added that the investigation remains “active and ongoing.”
On its Facebook page, Hurricane Mikes describes itself as a “[f]riendly neighborhood bar within walking distance” from many other bars, as well as restaurants and other businesses.
When the News Leader checked the page early in the afternoon of Oct. 20, it found that one person had posted a note about the bomb threat. “Scary stuff!” the person wrote.