Threat of gang related shooting at Manatee County Fair

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:55 pm | Updated: 8:51 am, Fri Jan 18, 2013.

PALMETTO, Fla. - The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is investigating a threat at the Manatee County Fair. Authorities received a tip that there would be a gang shooting Thursday night at the fair.

And while deputies don't believe the threat is valid, they're still stepping up patrols to ensure fair-goers' safety.

Everyone has their fair favorites. “It's a ride where you spin around and then it feels like you're floating and you're spinning around fast,” says fair goer Dawson Groover.

And while that may sound pretty scary to some, people we talked to at the Manatee County Fair say the crazy rides are their top concern, not their safety.

“People have always bragged about the Manatee County Fair, that you can come out and let your children go and just have a wonderful time and that's what we want,” says fair manager Daniel West.

West says after receiving word from the sheriff’s office about the threats of a gang related shooting on opening night, officials got right to work, stepping up patrols and putting security checks at all entrances. “We have deputies at the gates, and also we have deputies throughout the entire fair grounds walking, making sure everyone's having a wonderful, safe time.”

According to the sheriff's office, deputies received an anonymous tip about the threat, which was posted on social media sites. But after investigating, authorities say there was no credible evidence to validate the information.

Callie Parker says she brings her family to the Manatee County Fair every year, and while this year she has noticed a change. “I've seen a lot more deputies this year.” She's not worried about her safety, which seems to be the general sentiment here at the fair.

“Let's get past that, let's just have a good time,” says Palmetto resident Ken Stinson.

The sheriffs office reported receiving the same type of threat before last year's fair. Officials say they will continue investigating the threat, but at this point, it is not credible. They say the most important thing is ensuring the safety of everyone at the fair.

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