2014 opens with Sarasota murder investigation

SARASOTA, Fla. - The first homicide of the year was logged in Sarasota shortly after 4 a.m. New Year's morning, as officers responded to a 9-1-1 call in the 2000 block of 4th St. in the Park East neighborhood off Fruitville Rd.

"When our officers arrived, they found the victim, who was a male laying in a yard of a home on 4th Street," said Public Information Officer Genevieve Judge of the Sarasota Police Department. "EMS attempted to revive the man, however, they were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene," she said.

Family members could only stare in disbelief and grief at that spot where Johnny Luna breathed his last this morning. According to neighbors, the 50-year-old had just walked about a block down 4th from a New Year's Eve Party.

"And as he was walking home by the white house behind me -- a gentleman jumped out and stabbed him multiple times," said Raul Tovar, who identified himself as a member of the victim's extended family. "I don't think he took any belongings of him…he just killed him, just took his life."

The back-story here is murky at best, and while police have kept suspect information, or even a motive, quiet for now, they insist that the community is not in any danger, but neighbors aren't so sure.

"I'm a little worried," admitted Tovar, standing in front of a web of crime-scene tape. "I mean you know sometimes I can't walk my dog at night because its a lot of times is scary."

This is a neighborhood where police presence is not uncommon, and in fact, as ABC Action News waited for word from investigators on this case, a man was taken down for apparently trying to access another officer's vehicle.

"There's a lot of violence going on, a lot of drugs going on," admitted Tovar. "Pretty much a little bit of everything."

And today, that everything included that awful yellow tape and intense investigation.The investigation continues.


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