MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - An off-duty St. Petersburg police officer said he was attacked while in his car near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Manatee County Sheriff's investigators said the officer reported being shot at near the ramp to the southern fishing pier at 4:30 Saturday morning.
"I never thought about anyone getting shot out here," said Bruce Gilley, a fisherman who regularly visits the southern pier. "You're safe because the only people who usually come out here are the people who go fishing. I never really thought about criminals coming out here and shooting you," Gilley said.
The officer said he saw a vehicle pull up to his car, heard a shot, and moments later saw his driver's side window explode into tiny pieces of glass. The officer suffered minor cuts to his face.
Dan Vick said he comes to pier a couple of times a year. When he heard about the shooting he immediately thought about family safety.
"You don't want some rogue guy running down the road when families are trying to build memories and have family memories," Vick said. "You don't want to have some loose cannon taking potshots at you or your family members," he said.
While the officer was in his personal car, he said he was wearing clearly marked police insignia on his clothing. It was pitch dark out at that hour, and it's unclear if the gunman could have seen what the officer was wearing.
Investigators didn't find a bullet at the shooting scene, and they haven't determined if the officer was a target. His identity is being withheld for safety reasons, according to St. Petersburg police. The officer returned to work on Monday.
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