Neighbors help neighbors in tough times.
And it’s no different when it comes to island police departments.
The Bradenton Beach Police Department — with uniformed officers and squads — is providing assistance to Longboat Key Police Department as it reels from the double homicide in August at the Zota Beach Resort.
The resort is paying the BBPD and LKPD officers for extra security details while it works on employing a new security company, according to Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming.
Zota, at 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive, is owned and managed by Ocean Properties Ltd. & Affiliates.
“Being a small department, we’re leaving it up to our officers if they want to work the Zota details,” Cumming said, adding “and we’ve opened it up to Bradenton Beach officers also.”
As of Sept. 5, the BBPD officers performed two all-night details and were expected to be called as needed, BBPD Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz said.
Chief Sam Speciale supports lending the officers to boost the community’s sense of well-being.
“I think it’s so everyone has a sense of calm — people want to know it’s safe there. And we want to do whatever we can to help,” Speciale said, adding the offer is open ended.
The night manager, Timothy Hurley, 59, of Sarasota, and security guard Kevin Carter, 51, of Bradenton, were fatally shot at 2:41 a.m. Aug. 4 in the lobby of the 187-room hotel.
Five days later, Darryl Vaughn Hanna Jr., 29, of Bradenton, was arrested in connection with the shooting.
The 12th Circuit State Attorney formally charged Hanna Aug. 25 with two counts of second-degree murder with a firearm and one count of robbery with a deadly weapon. Three cash drawers and a total of $900 were stolen.
Authorities say Hanna had worked at Zota as a part-time guard with Victory Security of Florida, the same company that employed Carter.
The Manatee County Homicide Task Force investigation continues to collect evidence for Hanna’s prosecution,
Cumming said. The chief also said he’s not “closing the door” to another person’s involvement in the crimes.
Hanna is being held in Manatee County jail without bond.