Shooting outside high school basketball game in Bradenton

BRADENTON,  FL (WFLA) - An unknown gunman opened fire outside of a high school basketball game, prompting a swarm of officers to respond to the frightening scene. Now deputies need your help to find the suspect.

On Thursday night, the Southeast High School girls basketball team had just finished playing against Venice high school. And Manatee county deputies say right outside in the parking lot, danger was lurking.

Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow said, "The potential was there for obviously someone to get hurt."

At around 9 pm, a suspect opened fire in the crowded parking lot, damaging a car. A school resource officer nearby heard the shots and called in backup. Bristow said, "Whenever you have somebody firing weapons at another vehicle with occupants inside the vehicle, yeah, there's a recipe for disaster there."

Thankfully, no one was hurt but the suspect took off before deputies could find him.

Mary Bradley Weeks has a nephew and a niece who attend Southeast. She said, "It is frightening, and I'm afraid for that."

She added, "These are children. We have to have more respect for our children, for the safety of our students, we just can't do that. People just can't shoot up a school like that."

Deputies believe the shooting stemmed from an earlier argument. Officials may increase security if they feel there is a need, but Weeks feels it's better to be safe than sorry.

Weeks said, "If that's what's going on, we're gonna have to do something to beef up security to make sure that the children are safe."

The Manatee county school district would not comment. Deputies have a person of interest that they're looking for, and a possible second suspect but they couldn't release any more details at this time.

So if you know any information about this case, give them a call and get these criminals off the streets.

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