One teen arrested in Tampa, while the other turns himself in to Sarasota Police officers
Two suspects have been arrested in connection with shootings that left one person dead just before 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 6, on Palmadelia Avenue in Sarasota, the Sarasota Police Department has reported
Thamar Liafortune, 16, of 1027 Eighth St. East in Bradenton, is facing charges of Homicide and Attempted Homicide, a Sarasota Police Department news release pointed out. He turned himself in to law enforcement personnel on the night of Feb. 9, Genevieve Judge, the department’s public information officer, wrote in a release. Officers had been searching for him since witnesses identified him as a suspect, she explained in an earlier statement.
Sha’Miya Lashawn Sherylinda Williams, 16, of Tampa, also is facing charges of Homicide and Attempted Homicide in connection with the shootings, the department reported. On Feb. 7, she was arrested by deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Saraosta Police Department noted in its initial news release.
A 17-year-old male died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital following the incident, the Police Department said in the Probable Cause Affidavit for Williams.
A 16-year-old male victim, who was shot in the hand, and a 9-year-old female victim, who was shot in the shoulder, also were transported to the hospital for treatment of their injuries, a Police Department news release said.
On Feb. 6, Sarasota Police officers responded to the 2200 block of Palmadelia Avenue in Sarasota after multiple calls made to 911 Dispatch reported shots being fired, the Probable Cause Affidavit narrative says.
Along with the three persons who suffered gunshot wounds, the narrative adds, six other juveniles — ages 7, 10, 17, 13, 11, and 13 — were in the line of gunfire “but fortunately did not get hit by any [projectiles].”
All of the victims “were walking together” on Palmadelia Avenue, between 22nd Street and 23rd Street, when a four-door, gold-colored sedan “came to a stop at the intersection of 22nd [Street and] Palmadelia Avenue,” witnesses told officers, the narrative notes.
Victims and witnesses reported that they saw two people shooting from the driver’s side of the vehicle, the narrative adds. One shooter, seated in the rear of the sedan behind the driver, was using an automatic rifle, the witnesses said, while a second shooter was firing a handgun from the driver’s seat.
“The victims ran in fear for their life, seeking cover from many [projectile] rounds of gunfire … intentionally … fired [in] their direction,” the report says.
Following the shooting, the narrative adds, the vehicle fled the scene, headed eastbound on 22nd Street.
Individuals who talked with Sarasota Police officers said the shooting was the result of an altercation that had occurred between two of the vicitms, the first department news release noted.
Victims and witnesses also identified Williams as having been involved in the shooting, the narrative points out.
Video from a surveillance camera operating one block east of the intersection of 23rdStreet and Palmadelia Avenue showed the gold-colored vehicle, the narrative adds, and a witness confirmed that it was the same sedan that Liafortune and Williams had used when they drove away from a Bradenton residence where they allegedly had stolen firearms.
Shell casings recovered from the Sarasota scene indicated the use of a .40-caliber handgun and a .223 assault rifle, which were the types of firearms that Liafortune and Williams allegedly stole, the narrative indicates.
One person told Sarasota Police Department detectives that about 5:40 p.m. on Feb. 6, Williams and Liafortune returned to Liafortune’s address in Bradenton, the narrative says.
The Feb. 6 incident remains under investigation, the Police Department points out. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 941-263-6070, leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS, or going online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com, the news release said.
During a search of 12th Judicial Circuit Court cases this week, The Sarasota News Leader found only one case in which Williams was listed as a defendant. In late October 2020, she was charged with having no valid driver’s license. At that time, the citation says, she was living at 2911 Leon Ave. in Sarasota. A Sarasota Police officer stopped her in the 1700 block of North Orange Avenue in Sarasota, the citation notes.
In early May 2021, Williams ended up entering a plea of “No contest,” court records show. On Nov. 10, 2021, she was ordered to pay $273 in court costs and fees, a document notes.
The case was sent to a collections agency on Nov. 17, 2021, the court records say.
A News Leader search of Manatee County Clerk of Court records found 16 cases involving a Thamar C. Liafortune whose date of birth was listed as May 6, 1986. Four of them were related to traffic infractions.
In an August 2013 felony incident, that Thamar Liafortune was charged with theft of a motor vehicle, but the 12th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office ended up dropping the case.
In October 2013, the records show, he was charged with Driving while License Cancelled, Suspended or Revoked; Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer; and Resisting, Obstructing, or Opposing an Officer without Violence.
The narrative for that case said that the arresting officer was behind Liafortune on 14th Street W. in Bradenton when the officer learned that Liafortune had an outstanding warrant in a child support case. When the officer activated his lights, the narrative continued, Liafortune failed to stop and reached speeds of 55 to 70 mph in zones with 25 mph and 40 mph speed limits. The original officer and other officers ended up chasing Liafortune through “several residential areas and back out to 14th St. W.,” the narrative added.
Finally, the officers called in a K-9 unit, who found Liafortune, the narrative said.
In July 2014, he pleaded “No contest” to the charge of fleeing an officer and was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service, the court records note. He was given credit for time served in the Manatee County Jail in connection with the other two charges.
The earliest case the News Leader located involving Liafortune was recorded in September 2003, when he was charged, as a juvenile, with Robbery by Sudden Snatching.