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3 men found slain in duplex near Bradenton

 
Published March 17, 1998|Updated Sept. 12, 2005

Three men were found shot to death inside their duplex Monday after an anonymous person told the victims' neighbor to call 911, Manatee County sheriff's officials said.

The men, ages 26, 27 and 31, lived in the home south of Bradenton and were killed sometime between 7 and 11 a.m., said Sheriff's Office spokesman David Bristow.

A neighbor called police at 1 p.m., shortly after being approached by someone who told the neighbor to call police.

Deputies are still looking for the anonymous person and believe he is involved, Bristow said.

The family in the other unit of the duplex on 12th Street E was home at the time, but said their stereo was turned up and they didn't hear any shots fired, Bristow said.

The men were roommates and detectives believe they were not related. Each has a different last name.

Each man was shot at least once, deputies said. No weapon was found, but detectives believe only one weapon was used and that the victims knew their assailant.

"We just don't know what happened in there," Bristow said.

Asked if drugs were found in the house, Bristow said, "We definitely found some stuff, but we're not talking about that right now."

One victim's family had not been notified by late Monday, so all three names were withheld and were expected to be released today.

Detectives were getting closer to pinpointing a motive Monday night and were moving away from gang-related theories, Bristow said.

Bradenton police earlier had investigated the possibility that the triple slaying was related to the shooting of a 19-year-old Bradenton man the day before.

Leonicio "Leon" Gutierrez was in critical condition late Monday with gunshot wounds to the mouth and neck after what police describe as a gang-related shooting Sunday evening.

Bradenton police are looking for the person who shot Gutierrez.