NORTH PORT — A 14-month-old homicide investigation continues in North Port and led to a search of a home in the 2300 block of North Bronco Lane on Tuesday morning.

Police swarmed the house with officers and 11 police vehicles, including an armored special response team truck.

The officers and vehicles created a perimeter on the short road shortly after 8:30 a.m.

At about 8:50 a.m., North Port Police called for those inside to exit and at least one man exited the residence.

The road was blocked during the morning.

The investigation continued throughout much of the day at the site. At about 10:30 a.m., a large team of search dogs and investigators entered the residence.

Authorities said the search warrant served was connected to a killing of a North Port man in another North Port neighborhood on Jan. 10, 2018.

Trent Bartol-Thomas, 19, was fatally shot last year during a gathering of more than 10 people at a North Port home.

According to North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor, authorities have always suspected there was more involved in the case.

“We’d like to find anyone else responsible, and we are pushing every approach to do that,” Taylor said. “We just don’t forget. People should remember that.”

Taylor said police on Tuesday were looking for additional evidence connected to the homicide.

There was no immediate word on what, if anything, they found in the home.

The killing 14 months ago happened when two masked men entered a gathering of 10-12 people in the 8100 block of Porto Chico Avenue in the Biscayne Avenue area of North Port at approximately 1:30 a.m.

According to a probable cause affidavit, a bullet was fired and the duo ordered all the people in the house to get on the floor.

As they entered the kitchen of the home, Bartol-Thomas reportedly overpowered one of the men, but was then shot by the other and died at the scene.

Dontae Stanley Jr., 21, and another man, Tyrik James Bell, 23, were initially charged with battery and assault with a deadly weapon, with Bell later charged with an additional count of homicide.

The shooting is believed to be robbery and drug related, according to police.

Officials said Stanley and Bartol-Thomas knew each other.

The charges against Stanley were dropped a little more than a month after the homicide.

Both graduated from North Port High School and lived in Sarasota at the time of the shooting.

Bell has pleaded not guilty and faces a jury trial on Dec. 12 of this year.

Taylor said the investigation of the slaying remains active.

North Port Police are asking anyone with information on this crime to contact Detective Chris Maki at 941-529-7323.


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