Parents struggle to cope with son's death after Palmetto shooting

ejohnson@bradenton.comOctober 7, 2012 

PALMETTO -- Jesse Schwartzman's parents said their 25-year-old son was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" Friday night when he was shot in the head while driving down 10th Street West in Palmetto.

Schwartzman was taken to Blake Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

The Palmetto Police Department is utilizing surveillance footage from a Citgo gas station in the 200 block of 10th Street West.

"It's been critical," said Deputy Chief Scott Tyler.

Video shows the suspect vehicle, a black or dark blue four-door pickup truck, driving west in front of the gas station about the same time that Schwartzman was parked out front while his passenger went inside. As Schwartzman left the gas station driving east, the truck pulled up beside the car and began firing, Tyler said.

Schwartzman lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a concrete barrier near a gas pump. The passenger fled the scene, but met with detectives Saturday, Tyler said.

The truck made a U-turn and drove west.

"When you see the wholevideo, we know what happened," Tyler said. "It's just a question of why and who. It wasn't a random act."

Police believe they are looking for two male suspects. The truck is a late model, possibly a Dodge or Nissan. It has chrome rims and other chrome accents, Tyler said.

Schwartzman, a Palmetto High alumnus, was living at home with his parents in Ellenton and waiting for his seasonal job at a packing plant to start again.

"He was always smiling," said his father, Jay Schwartzman. "A kind-hearted homebody."

His mother, Tammy Carmichael, said the family became concerned Friday night when they noticed his cell phone was sending calls straight to voicemail.

"It just didn't seem right," Carmichael said. "He called and said he would be home in 20 minutes and he wasn't. It's unlike him."

Schwartzman's parents received news of the incident minutes later. He went into cardiac arrest while in surgery, Carmichael said.

"We knew that was it," she added with tears. "It's like someone is ripping your heart out."

Carmichael said Schwartzman had no children and was excited to have a new job with plans to move out soon.

"We never expected this," she said. "Everybody is trying to deal with it their own way. There are a lot of tears and a lot of talking about old times."

Carmichael and Schwartzman laughed as they recalled a time several years ago when they walked in on their son eating dog snacks that looked like cheese puffs.

Above all, they remember their son as a sports fan.

"He loved football," Schwartzman said. "He could rattle off any player. Bucs all the way."

Schwartzman's parents said finding his killers is important to family and friends.

"That's the big buzz -- capturing the people," Carmichael said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Chad Oyler at 941-723-4587, ext. 6140, or CrimeStoppers at 866-634-8477.

Schwartzman's death is the 20th homicide in Manatee County this year and the third in October.

This is the third slaying in the city of Palmetto in 2012.

Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.

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