Bradenton 4-year-old drive-by victim enjoys attention at benefit

jtate@bradenton.comSeptember 3, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Running around and dancing, the 4-year-old self-proclaimed rock star, Davien Martinez, pranced along like any other young child during a fundraiser held Monday afternoon to help raise money for him and his family.

"He thinks he's a rock star," said his mother, Diana Lopez. "That's what he's telling himself because he was in the newspaper,"

Loved ones held The Angels for Davien benefit at Ace's Live in Bradenton from noon to 6 p.m. to help the family with household expenses.

Lopez said she was touched people who don't even know her are willing to help out. She said famous sports commentator and Lakewood Ranch resident Dick Vitale will meet her and Davien for lunch Wednesday.

"It's been good. Everyone is coming together to support him," said Lopez.

Davien was shot July 27 when a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting entered his bedroom and struck him while he was home with his mother and her boyfriend.

Lopez was forced to take a leave from work to care for her son, who may have lost sight in his right eye, hearing and sustained frontal lobe damage. He has an eye appointment Thursday.

"We'll basically see the extent of the damage and how well he can see out of his left eye," said Lopez.

But Lopez said seeing her son come out of his shell has been special and surprising.

"He's enjoying the attention," said Lopez smiling. "Before this happened he was the shyest person. He never danced in front of anyone. Now he's in there trying to get down low."

Sarah Jardine, Lopez's friend, organized the benefit to help the single mother out with household bills piling up while she's out of work caring for her son.

"I'm a single mom, and I know how hard it is, and on top of that to have your child get shot in the head, so how could I not do something?" Jardine asked.

Jardine said the gesture was to let Lopez know there are good people left in the world.

"When something happens like this, it's easy to get the wrong idea about people," Jardine said. "I'm here to say you know what? It's the flip side of the coin, too."

Jardine said many people helped produce the benefit, including event planner Tonya Kida. The reggae band Democracy stepped in at the last minute to entertain the crowd when the DJ experienced trouble setting up.

Bonefish Grill, Budweiser, Dolphin Cruise and the North River Roller Renegades women's roller derby team all donated services, gift certificates and tickets.

Cindi Montorio, Ace's Live bar manager, said they were eager to open their venue free for the cause.

"We really hope to generate as much as we can for Davien and his mom," said Montorio. "I saw this story on the news. It touched everybody."

To donate online, go to or call 941-301-6400.

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate

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