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Date of Issue: April 26, 2007

Man linked to shooting HB police officer arrested on other charges

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Justin Garrett

Justin Garrett, 18, of Bradenton, was wanted for burglary and violation of probation when he was arrested April 17, shortly before 7 p.m. after fleeing a Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputy who had recognized him.

At press time, Garrett remained in the Manatee County jail without bond.

Garrett's name has come up in connection with the shooting of Holmes Beach Police Officer James Cumston on April 4.

Cumston, off-duty at the time, had spotted a burglary taking place at a residence near his Bradenton home in the 2000 block of 36th Avenue East.

Cumston was shot but not seriously injured as he pursued the suspects in his personal vehicle. A bullet fragment hit Cumston's leg and he was treated and released from the hospital that day.

A NewsManatee.com source has twice confirmed that the sheriff's office believes Garrett is a second suspect in the shooting of Cumston, but the source says authorities can't yet prove their case.

The sheriff's office has refused to comment officially on any link between Garrett and another suspect, James Perkins.

Perkins, 19, of Bradenton, was arrested April 4 in Georgia in connection with the incident and faces an attempted murder charge. Manatee County authorities have sought his extradition but, as of The Islander press time, Perkins remained in the Barrow County Detention Center.

Perkins was arrested on a warrant out of Manatee County at about 10 p.m. April 5. U.S. Marshal Bill Fiscus had notified the Barrow County [Georgia] Sheriff's Office that Perkins was possibly in the area to see relatives.

The Barrow County News reported that the sheriff's office dispatched crisis negotiators and a tactical unit after Perkins barricaded himself in a home in Winder.

After about two hours of negotiations, Perkins left the home and was taken into custody.

The apprehension of Perkins led to two misdemeanor charges against him in Barrow County — two counts of obstruction of officers.

Garrett was located at about 6 p.m. April 17 when a deputy spotted him in the 1900 block of 32nd Avenue East.

The deputy, who knew a felony warrant had been issued for Garrett, saw him standing near a vehicle. Garrett noticed the deputy and fled on foot, according to the report.

Garrett jumped a fence and ran through several yards. A K-9 unit and several deputies were called to track Garrett and set up a perimeter to close in on him.

Shortly afterward, Garrett was found hiding in a tree in the 3200 block of 22nd Street East and was taken into custody. Apparently, Garrett damaged a hot tub on the property when climbing into the tree.

Garrett was arrested for the felony burglary warrant and for violation of probation. He also faces charges of criminal mischief, trespass and resisting arrest without violence.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to investigate the April 4 burglary and shooting of Cumston.

As Cumston pursued the suspects, he called 911. The officer was shot in the 3500 block of 27th Street Court East and again near the intersection of 27th Street East and 36th Avenue East.

The suspect vehicle stopped in the 3200 block of 27th Street East and someone fired more rounds at Cumston. At that point, Cumston returned several rounds of gunfire.

He reported losing sight of the suspect vehicle in the area of 36th Avenue East and 17th Street East and the vehicle was recovered later that day.

Mike Quinn, publisher of NewsManatee.com, and Islander reporter Lisa Neff contributed to this report.