A South Venice man was arrested after his gun allegedly discharged during an argument with a homeless man.

According to a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office report:

On Monday evening, May 6, a homeless man approached a deputy on patrol in a roadway and told him he’d just been shot at during an altercation inside a home in the 500 block of Yale Road in South Venice.

The victim said he’d come to the residence to do drugs. He said the suspect pulled out a handgun during a verbal disagreement, so he hit him in the head with a flashlight, causing the suspect to fall backward. That’s when the gun discharged into the ceiling. The victim fled the scene.

The arrest report doesn’t state what the argument was about.

The suspect denied possessing or discharging any firearms and said he did not provoke the victim.

But deputies found what appeared to be a bullet hole in the ceiling of the living room, a .22 caliber handgun under the suspect’s mattress, a meth pipe and illegal drugs.

Justin Hayes, 29, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and THC oil without a prescription, possession of drug equipment, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon by a convicted Florida felon. Bond was set at $33,000.

The report states Hayes has five previous felony convictions, the most recent occurring in February.

Sex offender registration:Thomas Knipe, 69, has registered as a sexual offender living in Sarasota County, according to a press release from Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Knipe was convicted in 1985 in Iowa of third-degree sexual abuse with force and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He was also convicted in 1999 in Louisiana of molestation of a juvenile with physical or mental disabilities, aggravated oral sexual battery on a minor and indecent behavior with a juvenile. He was sentenced to an additional 12 years behind bars but only served three years before he was released on parole.

Knipe recently relocated and reports his address is 731 Crestwood Road, Unit B, in Englewood. He is not currently under the supervision of the Florida Department of Corrections, and because the offenses occurred out of state and prior to 2004, residency restrictions do not apply.

This information is posted on the Sheriff’s Office website and elsewhere to notify citizens of sexual offenders and predators who register a Sarasota County address for the first time, when moving into the county or following release from prison.

The Venice Police Department reported the following arrest:

Raymond Smith, 54, 1100 block of San Lino Circle, Venice. Charges: two counts of DUI, driving while license suspended, damage to property or person, hit-and-run. Bond: $1,120.

Fernando Altuna, 34, 1100 block of S.W. Anza Ave., Lehigh Acres. Charges: two violations of sex offender registration (failure to notify of address change, living within 1,000 feet of a school, etc.). Bond: $7,500.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reported the following arrests:

Phillip Forbes, 33, Shamrock Drive, Venice. Charges: probation violation, DUI. Bond: $10,000.

Jack Martin, 23, 600 block of Osceola Road, Nokomis. Charges: burglary, grand theft, two counts of drug possession, drug equipment possession. Bond: $13,000.

Gerald Burek, 54, 300 block of Bahia Vista Ave., Osprey. Charge: in-custody arrest for probation violation. Bond: none.

Brian Nerau, 39, 300 block of Briarwood Road, Venice. Charges: resisting an officer without violence, drug equipment possession. Bond: $1,000.

Jacob Rogo, 23, 100 block of S. Pearl Ave., Nokomis. Charge: probation violation. Bond: none.

Peter Sommeling, 41, 600 block of East Bird Bay Drive, Venice. Charge: use or possession of an ID of another person without permission. Bond: $1,500.

Michael Aiken, 57, 300 block of Flamingo Drive, Venice. Charge: DUI. Bond: $120.

Thomas Bissonette, 50, 100 block of West Marland Court, Nokomis. Charges: aggravated stalking, weapon offense. Bond: $30,000.

Kristy Brannon, 37, 100 block of S. Jessica St., Nokomis. Charge: contempt of court (failure to appear). Bond: $1,000.

Katherine Dougherty, 29, 400 block of Auburn Lakes Circle, Venice. Charges: sale of methamphetamine, two counts of sale of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a church or school, two counts of sale of fentanyl within 1,000 feet of a church or school, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, contempt of court (failure to appear for a previous petit larceny offense), possession of drug equipment. Bond: $92,000.

Cotie Wilkie, 33, 100 block of E. Tampa Ave., Venice. Charges: three counts of drug possession without a prescription (Xanax, crack cocaine, methamphetamine), marijuana possession, drug equipment possession, driving while license suspended. Bond: $5,620.

— Compiled by News Editor Greg Giles


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