By Tom Vaught
and Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH – Sue Normand is not sure why the man who put her in the hospital last Wednesday did what he did, according to Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine, who interviewed her at Bayfront Hospital last week.
Mark W. Koenigs shot Normand, 63, owner of Island Mail & More at 3230 East Bay Drive at the Anna Maria Island Centre in Holmes Beach, once in the stomach. Koenigs, who owns a house east of Bradenton, also owns two rental units in a triplex in south Bradenton Beach.
Holmes Beach Police Detective Sergeant Terri Davis interviewed Normand late last week. Normand said that Koenigs was waiting outside her store when she arrived around 9:45 a.m. She said she then let another couple in to wait on them before her normal opening time opening time and shortly after that, Koenigs came over and tested the locked front door and then walked away.
Normand unlocked the door at 10 a.m., her normal opening time, and Koenigs walked in but when he saw that the couple was still there, he left again. After they left, he re-entered the store.
Koenigs placed a small box on the counter and she asked him if he needed it wrapped. He said no, he needed stamps, and when she turned away, he took out a 9-mm pistol and shot her once in the stomach.
Another customer, identified as Bruce Henke, of Ohio, who was in the store but not standing at the counter, heard the gunshot and heard Normand say she had been shot. He watched Koenigs flee the store and looked behind the counter at Normand, who was on the floor and bleeding. He called police and a dispatcher told him how to contain the bleeding until paramedics could arrive.
Holmes Beach police charged Koenigs with attempted first degree murder and his bond was set at $2 million. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office charged him with two charges of aggravated assault with a firearm stemming from his capture about two miles south of where the shooting occurred. Bail was set at $200,000 for those charges. He was jailed after being discharged from the hospital Sunday.
Romine said Monday that Koenigs, who was airlifted to the same hospital after police and sheriff’s deputies shot him during his capture, refused to talk. Romine said Koenigs just "stared off into space" when they first tried to question him Thursday.
Romine said it appears that Koenigs took a meandering route south along Gulf Drive and turned into the beach around 28th Street. He said they made sure he couldn’t use the trolleys for his escape.
"We asked the county to stop the trolleys," Romine said. "He was an armed man on foot and we wanted to make sure he stayed on foot."
The shooting left people in the shopping center shaken and concerned.
Errol King, an employee at Peaches restaurant, said he saw a middle-aged white man with a little gray hair on his face wearing a royal blue jacket with a hood pulled up over his head sitting on a metal bench outside China 1 restaurant between about 7:15 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Bill LaRow at the Whistle Stop Gift Shop also saw the man on the bench, who was holding a box, and said "I’m glad he’s not coming in here," he recalled after the incident.
Michael Valley, of Edward Jones Investments, was one of many who wondered why a shipping store would be targeted for an apparent robbery, when a liquor store and other stores dealing with larger amounts of money are nearby.
An employee at Ace Hardware said he heard three shots sometime that morning, while closer to the victim’s store, employees at Dee’s said they heard no shots because they had Christmas music turned on.
Walgreens Assistant Manager Paul Brandt said store employees use Normands’ shop occasionally to mail things between regular courier pickups.
"I hope they find him," he said before the suspect was apprehended, "or we’ll be freaking out."
Like most of the shops in the plaza, Island Bazaar remained open after the shooting. Owner Debbie Sniadach felt safe with four employees and a dog in the store, she said, adding that she uses the copy shop occasionally.
Dave Barrett, a visitor from the United Kingdom, said the incident did not taint his vacation on Anna Maria Island.
"It can happen anywhere," he said, adding that even with the relative absence of firearms in the U.K., there are still shootings there. But on an Island where "the biggest news is a water main burst, it’s scary when it happens on your doorstep," he said