Vitale: I want to meet boy injured in Bradenton drive-by shooting

jdeleon@bradenton.comAugust 1, 2013 

MANATEE -- Diana Lopez rejoices as her son, Davien Martinez, continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the head suffered in a drive-by shooting last week in Bradenton.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Davien was taken out of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

About 11:19 a.m. Saturday, 4-year-old Davien was at home in the 2600 block of 36th Avenue West with his mother and her boyfriend when people in two cars driving south on 26th Street West exchanged gunfire.

One of the bullets entered Davien's bedroom, striking him in the head, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The boy was sedated for several days to ease the swelling in his brain caused by the bullet, which also passed through his right eye socket. Doctors do not know yet if he will recover his vision, but it is not looking good.

TV sportscaster Dick Vitale, a Lakewood Ranch resident, was touched by Davien's story and told the Bradenton Herald he hopes to meet with Davien.

Vitale, left blind in one eye after a childhood accident, said he wants to show the boy a loss of vision does

not hinder you from living life to the fullest.

"I've lived a helluva life with one," Vitale said.

Lopez said she was receptive to the meeting but nothing has been set yet.

Meanwhile, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office continues to search for a "person of interest" in the shooting. Horatio Papillion is believed to have been in one of the two vehicles, according to the sheriff's office.

Detectives also want to speak to a possible witness spotted near the scene. The man was described as having short blond hair with tattoos on his right arm and right shoulder. He was wearing blue jean shorts, shirtless, but appeared to be carrying a black shirt, according to the sheriff's office.

According to Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Randy Warren, investigators have not been able to locate either man.

Anyone with information about the shooting and/or Papillion's whereabouts can call Detective Darryl Davis at 941-747-3011, ext 2535, or CrimeStoppers at 866-634-TIPS.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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