Partnership Policing Communications Coordinator
Genevieve Judge
Desk Phone:  941-954-7094
Fax:  941-954-7034

Firearm videos highlight public safety concern in the City of Sarasota

SARASOTA, Fla. -- July 22, 2014 -- 12:30 p.m.

The Sarasota Police Department presented two videos to the City Commission last night showing crowds of people gathered along the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way business corridor, including one person walking through the crowd waving and shooting a handgun into the air.  

Routinely, large crowds, with as many as 200-300 people, congregate in the street late at night creating a public safety concern, which was highlighted in the videos.

Video of the shooting incidents can be viewed on the Sarasota Police Department YouTube page at 

(Video Description below)

These videos, along with a history of substantial numbers of people gathering in the area, led to Chief Bernadette DiPino requesting that hours of operation for retail stores along the corridor be modified.  The Sarasota Police Department believes people are attracted to the MLK corridor from surrounding communities because retail businesses stay open as late as 4 a.m.  These large late night gatherings have become a serious public safety concern both for citizens and law enforcement. 

As a result, the City Commission directed staff to review hours of operation for business districts throughout the city, as well as the City of Bradenton and Manatee County, and compare those hours to business hours along the MLK corridor.  The Commission also requested staff attempt to determine where the people are coming from.  Once the requested information is obtained, staff will return to the City Commission for direction on how to proceed.

The Sarasota Police Department will meet with store owners and community members for their ideas, support and assistance toward resolving neighborhood and police department concerns.

Video Description

On July 5, 2014, at approximately 1:30 a.m., officers monitoring cameras along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way near Dixie Avenue, observed two suspects known to them, Maurice Carnes and Jerral Bell, standing near the intersection.

During this time and as seen in the first video clip, officers observed Carnes, who was wearing a dark colored button up shirt, give a handgun to Bell, who was wearing a dark tank top.  After receiving the handgun, Bell fired off several shots into the air among the crowd.  Officers then observed Bell hand back the handgun to Carnes who walked east on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Way away from Bell.

As seen on video, Carnes walks between two marked Sarasota Police patrol vehicles, with the handgun in plain sight.  Officers relayed information to responding units who subsequently took Carnes into custody after a brief foot pursuit.  Officers then located and arrested Bell.  No injuries were reported.

Carnes has been charged with felony possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, resisting an officer without violence and smuggling contraband into a detention facility.  Bell has been charged with felony possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and firing a weapon in public or on residential property.

The second incident, also captured on camera, occurred two hours later in the area of Links Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Way at approximately 3:54 a.m.  As seen on video, a large crowd gathers, shots are fired in close proximity to both Sarasota Police officers and citizens and the crowd disperses quickly.  One person was wounded in this shooting incident, which is currently an active investigation.

Aggravated assault on SCAT Bus under investigation

SARASOTA, Fla. – July 21, 2014 – 4:30 p.m.

Detectives with the Sarasota Police Department are currently investigating an aggravated assault that occurred Saturday, July 19, 2014.

UPDATE: Video of the suspect can be viewed on the Sarasota Police Department YouTube page at 

The victim told detectives she was riding a Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus to work, when a suspect in his late 20's to early 30's came and sat near her on the bus.

During the ride, the suspect attempted to engage the victim in conversation, however she tried to ignore him. The suspect asked for the victim's name and she gave it. The victim said the suspect began to repeat her name incessantly. The victim said he then asked for her phone number and she refused to give it.

The victim said the suspect got up from his seat and with his back to the front of the bus, removed his black flip phone, wallet and light blue/silver box cutter knife from his pocket.

The victim advised that the suspect opened the knife to reveal the square blade. The victim said the suspect brandished the knife and then closed it and put it away.

It's unknown at this time where the suspect got off of the SCAT bus.

The victim describes the suspect as:

Black male
6'0", 160lbs,
Black hair,
Brown eyes,
Thin build,
Late 20's- early 30's.

Suspect was last seen wearing a light colored t-shirt, dark colored shorts, sneakers and a white Miami Heat flat-bill ball cap with green and red accents.

Anyone with information or know of any similar incidents are encouraged to call Detective Kim Laster at 941-364-7327 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477) or online at


Sarasota Police Detectives attempting to identify subject in counterfeit case

SARASOTA, Fla. – July 18, 2014 – 11:15 a.m.

Detectives with the Sarasota Police Department are attempting to identify a man who used three counterfeit $100 bills to make a purchase.

On July 11, 2014 at approximately 10:50 p.m., the subject walked into the Walgreens at 3901 South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota and used the three counterfeit $100 bills. The subject is described as a white male, 20-30 years of age and was last seen wearing a white button up shirt, blue jeans and sandals. It’s unknown at this time what type of vehicle he was last seen driving.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective Kim Laster at 941-364-7327 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477) or online at

Sarasota Police Officer rescues baby duck

SARASOTA, Fla. – July 17, 2014 – 2 p.m.

Sarasota Police Officer Juan Sanchez rescued a baby duck trapped in a pile of muck on Thursday.

Just before 11 a.m., Officer Sanchez found the baby duck near the intersection of Pompano Avenue and Ringling Boulevard in Sarasota. The duck was in stuck in a pile of muck by a drain and was covered in mud, having trouble breathing and in distress.

Officer Sanchez cleaned up the duck, opened his airway and took him to Save Our Seabirds at 1708 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota.

"The staff at ‘Save Our Seabirds’ are unbelievable and amazing. I can’t say enough good things about them. They care so much about what they do. I find it refreshing and inspiring," said Officer Sanchez.

"This is a great reminder for public to remember that we handle all birds, not just seabirds. If you come in contact with any injured bird, please give us a call," said Benjamin Moore, Controller, Save Our Seabirds.

The staff at Save Our Seabirds nicknamed the duck ‘Freddy,’ and he’s doing well.

Sarasota Police Department Kicks Off Ambassador Program with News Conference

SARASOTA, Fla. – July 17, 2014 – 8 a.m.

On Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 11 a.m., between 10 and 15 Sarasota Police Department Volunteer Ambassadors will begin their new initiative at Selby Five Points Park in Sarasota traveling on foot throughout downtown at various times.

**Media is invited to attend a News Conference at 11 a.m., Tuesday, July 22nd at Selby Five Points Park in Sarasota (between Pineapple Avenue and Central Avenue)**

Ambassadors will be a friendly face, be able to answer questions about events going on downtown, give directions and serve as walking "kiosks" for help. They’ll be clearly identified by their Royal Blue shirts that say ‘Police Volunteer’ on the back and ‘Blue + Volunteers + You’ on the front. They’ll assist in sharing information about Sarasota as well as what is happening at places like the Van Wezel and other areas around town.

The Sarasota Police Department Volunteer Ambassador Program is one of the BLUE + YOU Initiatives.  Ambassadors are volunteers that have completed the proper training with the Sarasota Police Department. They’ll carry a police radio and will be able to call in any emergencies. Ambassadors will have no arrest capabilities.

"Citizen Volunteers are an important asset to the Sarasota Police Department and our community. We are extremely fortunate to have citizens living in our area willing to donate their time which then enables our officers to focus on their essential law enforcement functions," said Chief Bernadette DiPino, Sarasota Police Department. "They are an extra set of eyes and ears for the downtown area as well as a repository of information about our community," said DiPino. 

The Sarasota Police Department is continuing to accept applications for Ambassador positions. Ambassadors should like to walk, be able to walk several miles in the afternoon and have an outgoing disposition. If interested, contact Volunteer Coordinator Michelle Rinaca at 941-366-2845 or

Silver Alert cancelled for Sarasota man

July 5, 2014 12:30 a.m. Update:
Mr Becerra was located safe and uninjured at a motel on South Tamiami Trail in the city of Sarasota at 12:30 a.m.  A huge thanks to everyone who shared his information and photo!


SARASOTA, Fla. – July 14, 2014 – 9:15 p.m.

The Sarasota Police Department has issued a Silver Alert for Enrique R. Becerra, 84, of 2376 Novus Street, Sarasota.

Mr. Becerra was last seen at approximately at 3:30 p.m. on July 14, 2014, near the intersection of Novus Street and Shade Avenue walking with his walker. Mr. Becerra was last seen wearing gray slacks, a brown polo, and brown dress shoes. He’s described as Hispanic male, 5’4", 193 lbs, salt and pepper hair with brown eyes.

Mr. Becerra was last seen walking southbound on Shade Avenue towards the Bahia Vista area. Mr. Becerra suffers from possible dementia and he is diabetic and does not have his medication.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Mr. Becerra is asked to call 911 or the Sarasota Police Department at 941-316-1199 immediately.

  Enrique R. Becerra was last seen at about 3:30 p.m. on Monday, July 14, 2014 near the intersection of Shade Avenue and Novus Street in Sarasota


Enrique R. Becerra was last seen at about 3:30 p.m. on Monday, July 14, 2014 near the intersection of Shade Avenue and Novus Street in Sarasota