Double homicide leaves quiet Longboat Key community in shock

Picture of longboat key and one of the victims, Timothy Hurley, 59. Photo courtesy of Kristine Geer.

LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. (WFLA) — Longboat Key is one of those places where people tend to forget about the chaotic world around them. They come here to unwind and relax courtesy the sun and sand. Crime scene tape and police cars are the last things they expect to see on a Friday morning.

One of the victims, Timothy Hurley, 59 (middle). Photo courtesy of his niece, Kristine Geer.

Therefore, visitors and residents couldn’t believe it when they learned two people were murdered at the Zota Beach Resort.

“It’s terrible,” said part-time resident Michael Collet. “It just never happens out here. I’ve been coming here thirty years. Longboat Key never had anything like this.”

“I’m shocked. I’m shocked,” added Pam Diaz. “We’re just down the road not even half a mile.”

8 On Your Side dug into statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that show how Longboat Key is one of the safest places in Florida.

The crime rate is 755 offenses per 100,000 people. For perspective, in nearby Bradenton, it’s 3,800 per 100,000.

“We were named this year, the safest small city in America,” Longboat Key Police Chief Peter Cumming said. “Our violent crime is almost zero.”

“This is one of the premier locations on Longboat Key to stay… and to hear this, it’s sort of devastating,” said Stephen Reid, editor and publisher at the Longboat Key News.

“We’re used to over-watering of lawns. We are used to people not paying their water bill,” said Reid. “So when I got an email this morning asking ‘what are you going to write about the double homicide,’ I actually thought they were being sarcastic.”

In 2016, FDLE documents show there were no reported murders, rapes, robberies or aggravated assaults in Longboat Key, just a handful of burglaries.

The FBI Uniform Crime Report indicates 44 property crimes, burglaries, thefts and car thefts in Longboat Key in 2015.

“I believe there’s no more risk today as there was a week or a year ago,” Chief Cumming said. “I believe we are safe and will remain safe.”

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