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Date of Issue: April 21, 2007

Man linked to shooting Holmes Beach police officer arrested on other charges

Justin Garrett

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

Garrett’s name has come up in connection with the shooting of Holmes Beach Police Officer James Cumston on April 4. In that matter, Cumston spotted a burglary taking place at a residence near his Bradenton home in the 2000 block of 36th Avenue East.

In his pursuit of the suspects, Cumston was shot but not seriously injured when the suspects started shooting at him from their car as he followed in his personal vehicle.

A bullet fragment hit Cumston’s leg and he was treated and dismissed from the hospital that day.

A NewsManatee source has twice confirmed that the sheriff's office believes Garrett is the second shooter in the Cumston incident, but the source says they can't yet prove it.

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

Perkins, 19, of Bradenton, was arrested April 4 in Georgia in connection with the incident and as of April 18, was awaiting extradiction to Manatee County, and he's not talking about the skirmish, according to sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow.

Garrett was located at about 6 p.m. Tuesday when a deputy spotted him in the 1900 block of 32nd Avenue East. The deputy, who knew Garrett to have felony warrants, saw him standing near a vehicle and, according to the report, Garrett noticed the deputy and fled on foot.

Garrett jumped a fence and ran through several backyards and 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. Additionally, he was charged with criminal mischief, trespass and resisting arrest without violence.

In the prior shooting and burglary incident involving the Holmes Beach officer, Cumston was off-duty at the time and followed the suspects in his personal vehicle. Cumston called 911 and continued following the suspects, who began shooting at Cumston in the 3500 block of 27th Street Court East and again fired at him near the intersection of 27th Street East and 36th Avenue East.

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

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.

Manatee County Sheriff's Investigators are continuing the investigation into the incident involving Cumston. More charges may follow against Garrett, who remains in the Manatee County jail without