Three arrested in Palmetto youth football shooting

  • 0

PALMETTO--For the second time in as many months, shooters open fire at a youth football game in manatee county.

"At first I thought they were firecrackers but they were loud and I said that was gunshots," said Jose Campos, who lives across the street from the Palmetto Youth Center. Three alleged gunmen opened fire on their targets at the youth center around 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

"Parents were out running and looking for their kids and everything," said Campos.

After a brief car chase, police caught the suspects in the 1600 block of 26th avenue east. Cops say they arrested 23-year-old Darion Lazier, along with two other males, ages 17 and 15. All three have been charged with attempted murder.

"We noticed that a window was blown out of a truck and that there was a couple of kids running across the street yelling," said Palmetto Youth Center Executive Director Chris Lukowiak, who was nearby when the shooting started.

"It's unsettling to say the least," said Lukowiak.

His first thought: get everyone to safety; his second, what could have gone wrong?

"Obviously when something like that hits so close to home, you want to look at the children and say you know what are we doing wrong, or not doing enough of to start saving some lives here?" said Lukowiak.

This shooting comes not even two months after a man was shot to death during a youth football game in Bradenton. Community leaders say the time for action is now.

"My hope is that the parents aren't getting used to this type of activity," said Lukowiak, "and that we can really light a fire up under some folks and get some answers as to what we're doing here."