BRADENTON -- A 40-year-old man was shot and killed during a Manatee Mustangs youth football practice at 8:09 p.m. Thursday, sending a terrified crowd estimated at about 400 running for cover.
The gunshots occurred in the parking lot of the 13th Avenue Dream Center, a youth activity facility in the 900 block of 24th Street East, while family and friends were picking up their young athletes after practice at an adjacent football field, said Lt. James Racky of the Bradenton Police Department.
Police identified the victim as Brenton Coleman Sr.
Deputy Police Chief Warren Merriman said Friday that the Manatee County Homicide Task Force was following several leads, and that some witnesses had come forward with information.
Officials said Coleman was watching the Manatee Mustangs youth football practice when multiple men with guns ran across the parking lot towards him. According to police, Coleman tried to run away but the men chased him, while shooting at the same time, Bay News 9 reported.
Coleman was shot while trying to escape and died at the park. Investigators said Coleman lived in the area of the center and has children. It is not clear if he was watching any of his children practice.
"It sounded like fire-crackers," said a woman at the practice who did not wish to reveal her name. "It was boom-boom. People were running, but it wasn't a riot or anything. People were just getting out."
Racky confirmed at least two shots were fired at the victim but he did not know how many hit Coleman
"We need the help of the community on this one," Racky said. "There were 400 or 500 people here. Someone saw the shooter."
Police do not yet have a person of interest, Racky added.
Racky also said motive for the killing is unknown.
No one else was injured, Racky said.
This is the eighth homicide in Manatee County in 2013.
Bay News 9 contributed to this report.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 6686.