VENICE (WWSB) - Venice Police are still searching for the suspect in an overnight shooting of an employee at PGT Custom Windows + Doors.
At about 10 a.m., they were called by a man who lives in the gated community across the street from the back entrance of PGT saying he thought he saw the suspect, so police set up a perimeter at Knights Trail Road and Laurel Road area.
“The subject was seen wearing dark clothing heading toward Gene Green Road, so this morning we set up a perimeter and we searched the area with the assistance of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office," said Chief Tom Matmuller with the Venice Police Department.
Police have been searching for the suspect since the overnight shooting using a K9 unit and helicopter. But after several hours of searching, police say they believe the suspect is not in the area. The all clear was given around noon.
The victim told police that Tuesday morning around 12:30am, an unknown suspect dressed in a black hoodie and mask approached his car and knocked on his window. The victim rolled down his window and had a verbal exchange with the suspect.
That’s when early reports say the suspect pulled out a gun and shot the victim twice, once in the hand and once in the leg before fleeing on foot.
The employee went inside PGT before being taken to the hospital. He’s said to be in stable condition.
Police believe the shooter was targeting the victim, though the victim told authorities he did not know the suspect.
“The suspect made some comments that lead us to believe that the suspect may have known the victim but the victim is stating that he does not know the suspect," said Chief Matmuller.
Officers remained on scene through the day, checking employee IDs as they arrived for work before allowing them on the property. Police say all employees are safe and accounted for.
“Not good," said Susie Bill, another PGT employee when hearing the suspect was still on the loose. "I live here in Venice and you know, he’s gonna try to hunker down somewhere close. Is he on foot? I don’t even know. Nobody knows!”
PGT issued a statement Tuesday morning, saying in part, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the employee and his family. We are in touch with them and ensuring they have what they need. We are working closely with local law enforcement authorities as their investigation of this situation continues. Our number one priority is the safety of our team members, and we are committed to ensuring they have a safe work environment. Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are not in the position to answer any questions at this time.”
The statement adds, “We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Venice Police Department and other first responders for their leadership and support, and for their prompt response to this senseless criminal act.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 941-486-2444.
Earlier video from the scene: