Walmart manager shot, Publix manager pistol-whipped in suspected robbery spree in Manatee County

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)—A search is underway for two men involved in a shooting at a Walmart, and possibly two other robberies in the Manatee County area.

Deputies said a store manager was shot in the leg during an attempted robbery at the Walmart store on State Road 64 East around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Deputies said the two men walked into the store, and one acted as a “lookout” as the other demanded money from a clerk.

The clerk called the manager who came to the front desk and refused to give the men money.

Deputies said the man pointed a gun at his head and demanded money again, but the manager said no, so he took off running with his accomplice.

(Source: Manatee County Sheriff’s Office)

The manager chased the men as they neared the exit, then the first suspect fell to the ground.

Deputies said the man got up and shot the manager, striking him in the leg. Then the two men ran out of the store.

A deputy who was entering the store at the time of the shooting created a makeshift tourniquet and wrapped it around the manager’s leg. He has since been released from the hospital.

“We have never been hit. That store is usually pretty safe, so I think a lot of us are feeling uneasy and scared and traumatized because of the shot,” said Pat Rivet. Rivet has worked at the Bradenton Walmart location for the past 16 years. “I hope they catch the people and put them in jail for a very long time because they are hurting not just our stores, they have hit other stores,” she continued.

Deputies said the men, who are still at large, match the description of the suspects in two similar attempted robberies, which occurred at a Publix on 8th Avenue in Palmetto and a Dollar General Store on 32nd Avenue in Bradenton. 8 On Your Side spoke with an employee at the Dollar General who admits she was afraid to come back to work Wednesday.

Palmetto police said a black male a little less than 6 feet tall, wearing a blue ball cap, entered the Publix and brandished a silver or stainless pistol, and pistol-whipped an employee. He did not take any money or merchandise. The employee sustained a head injury, but the extent of that injury is unknown, police said.

(Source: Manatee County Sheriff’s Office)

Those with information regarding the incidents are being asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.

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