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Sarasota Teen Arrested Monday in Connection To County Fair Shooting

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - A Sarasota teen was arrested Monday in connection with a shooting that happened at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds Saturday night. 15-year-old Ansel Acosta was taken into custody after police say he drew a firearm and shot an 18-year-old victim at the fairgrounds.

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"We know there was a lot of fear in the community," said Genevieve Judge, Public Information Officer with the Sarasota Police Department. "Sarasota Police officers responded to a shooting incident that happened just before 10 o'clock on Saturday night, actually inside the fair," said Judge.

Sarasota police say two groups began to argue and it quickly escalated. Then, police say Acosta pulled out his firearm and shot an 18-year-old victim.

"This was a verbal argument between two people that knew one another," said Judge.

Police say the victim was rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery and is now in stable condition. Acosta was arrested at his home on Monday.

"A lot of folks had kids that were at the fair Saturday night and this was a scary situation hearing shots that were fired inside a place that's supposed to be family friendly."

Officials tell CW44 News there were also concerns of a second shooting Saturday just outside the fairgrounds.

"After the shooting, obviously a lot of folks ended up leaving the fair, running towards the parking lot, and we learned that there were shots fired in the parking lot," said Judge. Police say this was a separate incident and no one was hurt. "We just think somebody wanted to add to the chaos and ended up firing their gun into the air."

As the investigation continues, police say security detail is ramping up.

"We're going to up our presence of uniformed personnel that are at the fair. The Sarasota County Fair Board hires a private contracted security company. They'll be doing "wanding" and bags searches for everyone that does come to the fair."

Acosta is facing three felony charges including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and brandishing a firearm in public. Anyone with information is asked to call Sarasota Police or Crime Stoppers right away. The Sarasota County Fair will continue as scheduled through March 28th.

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