SARASOTA, FL — Two people are facing charges related to the shooting death of a man collaborating with them in a robbery plan at a Sarasota business Saturday morning, officials said.
The shooting victim, whose name is withheld under Marsy’s Law, was killed during a robbery at Switchen Lanes, an auto repair shop at 3000 N. Washington Blvd., according to a probable cause affidavit from the Sarasota police.
William Abnar, 29, of Bradenton and Ka’Liyah Brown, 18, of Sarasota have been charged with murder while engaged in robbery and attempted robbery with a firearm, police said.
When police responded to reports of a shooting at the auto repair shop around 6.40am, they found the victim lying in the road with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Earlier in the morning, Brown went to the store with a friend, another woman, after a man called an escort service looking for a prostitute, according to the affidavit. Abnar followed them to the store in a separate car and met the unnamed victim there, who helped plan the robbery.
The man who called the escort service paid Brown $320 for his services because he did not have the $350 he had agreed to pay him in advance.
After receiving the money, Brown went to a bathroom in the building and could be heard talking to someone on the phone, the second woman told police. When Brown left the bathroom, she told the man in the store that she needed to get out to turn off her car. He became suspicious because he thought she would leave with his money, police said.
When Brown and her friend came out, they found Abnar and the victim holding guns and wearing masks. They agreed to let the two men into the building, according to the affidavit.
The man from the repair shop was waiting in the doorway, holding a gun behind his back, and walked towards the masked men.
After the friend heard three or four shots, she entered the common area of the store, locking herself and Brown in the room while they called 911, according to the affidavit.
The shooter admitted to police that he called an escort service and arranged to meet Brown at his auto repair shop. He said she got out and was followed by two armed, masked men as she walked back into the building.
He told police he armed himself with a handgun and shot the victim in self-defense after the victim pointed a gun directly at him.
Brown lied to police, telling them she had gone to the auto repair shop to collect money owed to her friend for drugs, according to the affidavit. She told investigators the man in the store “grabbed a handgun and began shooting” at the victim.
CCTV footage from the repair shop corroborated the statements made by the second woman and the shooter, according to the affidavit.
“It was apparent that Abnar and Brown were involved in setting up the attempted robbery which resulted in (the victim’s) death,” police said.
Anyone with information about the incident asked to call the Sarasota Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 941-263-6070.