BRADENTON, Fla. – The Carmike Royal Palm 20 Cinema in Bradenton has long been known as a teen hangout, but several recent incidents have residents questioning whether things are getting out of control there.
The shooting of Teria’le Rawls and the recent sharing through social media of a video showing an unrelated brawl have some saying enough is enough.
This video in question was posted to Facebook and purports to be of an incident that occurred July 19th outside of the Royal Palm 20. That’s the same multiplex where 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls was shot and killed on Monday, and the incidents have left local teens on edge.
"It makes me feel scared for other people, my friends and family that also like to go out, so I just decide to stay in side and not go out," says area teen Richard Polinice.
But Polinice says the issue isn't just at the movie theater parking lot.
"Most of the hangout spots around Bradenton where people usually hang out, I've noticed that crime has taken [off],” he says. “You can’t even hang out with your friends without something happening."
When we went to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office for answers they reiterated that the violent incidents involving teens go way beyond the movie theater.
"This has nothing to do with the movie theater,” says Dave Bristow, the public information officer for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. “This is just a place these teens happen to stop."
Bristow says the night of the Rawls shooting, the kids left a teen party and began to congregate at the theater parking lot -- a trend that isn't new to the area.
"We were having some issues several years ago in parking lots of the county, including the parking lot of that theater, but through increased patrols going by these areas we'd really gotten a hand on that."
And while the movie theater isn't the only location of concern, Bristow says the recent up-tick in incidents at the location is on their radar.
"We're going to keep out presence there,” he says. “We're going to keep increased patrols going by there and other areas where we think large crowds may be congregating"
In the meantime, teens like Polinice continue to be concerned.
"It gets the point where it’s so dangerous that you don’t even want to be out the door anymore, and it’s hard on students,” he says. “You can’t even hang out anymore."