LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s a shocking double murder in an idyllic community. Two employees were killed in cold blood during a robbery at a Longboat Key resort hotel. The suspect is still on the run, considered armed and dangerous.
Surveillance video captured a suspect walking into the Zota Beach Resort at around 3:26 Friday morning. In the video, it appears the suspect made a throat slashing gesture.
Authorities tell News Channel 8 the suspect committed a robbery and murdered 59-year-old night manager Timothy Hurley and 51-year-old security guard Kevin Carter.
After the murders, the cameras captured the suspect walking away with a cash drawer.
“The suspect is obviously considered armed and dangerous, he or she has committed this kind of crime. But, I don’t think the public should be any more alarmed today than they were yesterday. This person is out in the general public and clearly capable of committing a violent crime,” said Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming.
Police could not disclose if the suspect was a male or female. They also did not share the type of weapon used in the crime.
As resort guests were escorted out, they were in disbelief.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I could not believe. This just doesn’t happen here. You know, maybe where we’re from it does ’cause it’s a real big city, you hear about this, but not here and on vacation,” said guest Beth Decker.
“Last night we were just saying how we bet there’s no crime around here,” said guest Adam Freeman.
Police and Manatee County sheriff’s investigators combed through evidence and surveillance cameras. There are also license plate cameras at both exits of the island, so police officers are using that footage too.
“We don’t know who that individual is right now, so we can’t tell the public who to look out for but again, just be alert to your surroundings and we all should be safe,” said Chief Cumming.
Longboat Key is an affluent area where crime is rare.
“We haven’t had a homicide on Longboat Key in decades and in fact, we really haven’t had a violent crime all year. This is a very safe community and I believe it continues to be a safe community. This unfortunate event, I don’t think marks any kind of crime trend, its just one of those things that happen, unfortunately,” said Chief Cumming.
The two victims were locals. Hurley was from Sarasota and Carter was a Bradenton resident.
Carter was an evening security guard working for Victory Security, a company out of Palm Beach.
An official at Victory Security said Carter was a beloved employee who worked for the company for many years. The president of the security company was so shocked, he even came to the scene.
Carter’s family did not wish to speak to media.
Hurley was the night manager and his niece, Kristine Geer, got the grim news.
“I found out about 9:45 this morning,” she said.
Geer was in absolute disbelief.
“He loved his job, but its far more beyond that…he’s my uncle, but he raised me as his own and he has a heart of gold and all I can say is that we don’t know much and we miss him greatly and are at a great loss,” said Geer.
Geer said he worked as a night manager for years.
“He would just do anything for anyone, a loving smile, and like I said, just a heart of gold,” Geer added.
An $18,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to an arrest.
If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers.
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