SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Sarasota Police Department released new information Wednesday regarding a police-involved shooting that unfolded outside a hotel late Tuesday morning.
According to authorities, the incident began when 71-year-old Robert Briandi, of Sarasota, attempted to snatch a purse belonging to an elderly woman who was loading groceries into her car at the Publix located at 501 North Beneva Road in Sarasota.
A police report stated Briandi “had something shiny in his hand” and threatened the woman with the object. At the same time, a nearby witness saw the ensuing struggle and attempted to intervene.
“That was broad daylight. The woman was just going about her normal day and this happens, it is scary,” said Linda Sampson who was in the Publix parking lot Wednesday.
Authorities said Briandi then fled the area with the witness following behind, videoing him with a cellphone while calling 911. Briandi continued to flee across the shopping center and into the parking lot of the Homewood Suites located at 3470 Fruitville Road.
When officers caught up with him, they noted Briandi was holding a knife.
After several unsuccessful attempts by officers to order Briandi to drop the knife and get on the ground, he “aggressively” advanced toward the officer with the knife in his hand. Briandi was again ordered to stop, drop the knife and get on the ground but advanced several more steps toward the officer, who fired his weapon.
Briandi was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and is in stable condition. The uninjured officer was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
Briandi now faces charges of robbery with a weapon, aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Authorities say his criminal history dates back to 1973.
“Certainly with violent offenders that attack the most vulnerable of our citizens, the elderly, we expect this case to be handled properly and to the fullest extent of the law,” said Sarasota PD Capt. Jonathan Todd.
The officer-involved shooting case is in the hands of FDLE. The 17-year veteran officer involved in the shooting has been placed on paid leave, which is standard in these cases.