Father was holding his 5-year-old when shot at Bradenton's Dream Center

Herald Staff ReportersAugust 3, 2013 

BRADENTON -- The victim of Thursday's execution-style killing at the 13th Avenue Dream Center was carrying his 5-year-old child in his arms when he was shot by two suspects.

Brenton Coleman Sr., 39, put the child down when the first bullet struck him, then raced across the parking lot where he eventually collapsed and died, said Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski.

Radzilowski said he did not know how many times the victim was hit with gunfire or where the fatal shot struck him.

As of Friday night, there was no arrest in the case or "person of interest," Radzilowski added."We know the victim was holding his 5-year-old in his arms," Radzilowski said hours after an emotional meeting about the killing attended by 200 at the Dream Center.

"When the shots began, he put the child down and kept running."

The child was unhurt, Radzilowski added.

"I don't know the motive, but he was targeted for some reason," Radzilowsi said.

Police and 13th Avenue Dream Center staff are calling for the community to speak up and help find those responsible for the shooting death of the father who had been at the center's football field for the first day of his children's football practice.

Coleman Sr. has a daughter and son who participate in the cheerleading and football programs at the center. He was gunned down Thursday night with at least 300 to 400 people on the center's grounds.

The center's director, Patrick Carnegie, said the community needs to speak up and assist the police in solving the crime. He said someone has to know what happened.

"For someone to be that brazen and come out amongst children and women and families and to do this; the community has to step up and has to eradicate the community of this ill," Carnegie said.

The center, which was open Friday morning, is committed to keeping all visitors safe and will increase security.

"It's unfortunate that this incident happened," said Carnegie. "We are working with law enforcement to provide a safe environment."

Carnegie said Coleman was not a staff member. He said he knew the victim and that his heart is heavy.

"Any time we have violence in the community, our hearts are heavy," he said.

Radzilowski said police believe Coleman, who has an arrest record, could have been killed anywhere.

"It's a shame it happened here. This place does so much good work for the kids," Radzilowski said.

"They have no care for life," he said of the shooters. "The community needs to step up. If you want to stop random violence, you need to step in."

Deputy Police Chief Warren Merriman said some people had already come forward, but no one had identified any suspects yet.

The Manatee County Homicide Investigative Unit is working on several leads.

Coleman died next to football coach Michael Barrett's car. There was a stain of blood next to the car's back passenger tire that was being examined by police Friday morning.

A tire on the car was shot out.

"I can replace a car," Barrett said.

"We were getting out of practice and you have kids around and families around," he said. "Everyone was coming out excited about the first day of practice and this happens."

Barrett has a child, niece and nephew who participate in the sports programs at the center. He said he could barely put into words what he was feeling at the time of the shooting.

"I was actually only thinking about my son and my niece and my nephew and my sister who were out here," said Barrett.

Reyna Lopez and Irna Peralta visited the 13th Avenue Dream Center playground Friday morning with their children. They said it frightened them to know someone was killed feet away from where their children play.

"It's scary," said Lopez.

Peralta said they usually come in the daytime when there aren't a lot of people at the center.

"Yes, it makes us scared to come back here," she said.

Carnegie said he will use this as an opportunity to address violence in the community and will meet with community leaders.

"We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our community," he said.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 866-634-8477 or Det. James Curulla at 941-747-3011, ext. 2224.

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