(This story originally appeared in the Bradenton Herald)
MANATEE — Two Bradenton teenagers who were injured in a drive by shooting Thursday were warned they were going to “get it today.”
A gang member made the threatening comment to her brother and his friend, who was also shot, said Nayomi Melgoza as she stood near the corner of 11th Street East and 57th Avenue East in Bradenton, where her 15-year-old brother was shot Thursday night.
“We didn’t believe them because they’ve been going on for a while,” Melgoza, who is 18, said, in reference
to an ongoing feud between the alleged shooter and her younger brother.
The two teenagers were each shot in the leg, according to witnesses. Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded at 8:45 p.m. to a call about two shooting victims. An official on scene confirmed there was a shooting.
The teens were taken to Blake Medical Center with non life threatening injuries, according to deputies.
Multiple sheriff’s vehicles were on scene as investigators interviewed witnesses and cordoned off a triangular area with yellow crime scene tape. The Crime Scene Unit from the Manatee Sheriff’s office was at the scene by 9:45 p.m. Authorities would not say whether they had a suspect.
When one of her brother’s friends told her about the shooting, Melgoza said her heart fell.
“I thought we were going to go through another funeral,” she said. “I lost my first brother when I was 9 years old and when they told me my little brother got shot, my dad’s not in the picture right now… I felt like it was going to go crazy.”
A juvenile witness, who said she is related to the 16-year-old victim said a fight was supposed to take place at the scene between Melgoza’s younger brother and the alleged shooter.
“They didn’t know that they were going to have guns, though,” she said. “They were just supposed to fight.”
Deputies at the scene said they hadn’t had a chance to interview the victims yet because they were taken to the hospital.
The investigation is ongoing.