Venice schools under lockdown during search for violent suspect

Violent Suspect in Venice, Florida causes schools to lock down during search

Venice Police are investigating an incident that happened near the elementary and high schools on the island.

Both schools are under a precautionary lockdown while police search for a violent suspect in Venice, Florida, and surrounding areas. A “Code White” has been issued, which means the doors at the schools are closed, but classes are in session.

Police Chief Tom Mattmuller is asking residents of Venice, Florida and the surrounding areas of Sarasota County to be vigilant and assist in the search.

Police are searching for a white male wearing a red shirt, possibly in his 30s, who they say attempted multiple carjackings and injured two people, one critically.

According to police, this is the sequence of events:

Police responded to a call at 7:55 p.m. Wednesday in the Publix parking lot and found a woman who was seriously injured. The victim is currently in critical condition at an area hospital.

The suspect, who remains at large, attempted to forcibly enter a pickup truck that was stopped in the roadway near 88 Spa Massage at 617 South Tamiami Trail.

The driver of the pickup sped away and as he approached Publix, observed the suspect in the bed of his truck. The hit the brakes, causing the suspect to be ejected from the truck.

The suspect then committed another attempted carjacking where he demanded keys from a Publix employee, claiming he was armed with a knife. During the confrontation, the second victim was battered by the suspect, who then fled the area on foot.

The suspect was last seen running near Publix, fleeing south behind the Elephants Trunk Thrift Store.

The investigation is ongoing. The public is urged to call 941-486-2444 with any additional information.

We will provide updates as they become available.


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