Vigil held for Bradenton teen who was shot, killed

Bay News 9February 23, 2014 

BRADENTON -- A candlelight vigil was held on Saturday night for a Bradenton teenager who was shot and killed.

The memorial was held alongside 13th Avenue East, where 15-year-old Dakota Smith died.

Friends and family gathered to remember Dakota, who was shot as he walked home from visiting with friends Thursday night.

Dakota's mother, Pamela Cash, said her son was shot in the head. As she tries to cope with her grief, Cash said what's helping her is the support from the community.

Dozens came to the vigil holding candles and writing

messages on wooden crosses that will be given to Dakota's family and friends.

"(Dakota) would have loved to see all of this support, and the people who are here tonight," said a tearful Cash.

"He's been a great loss to us, we're just trying to get through it as a family," said Ron Cash, the teen's uncle.

Dakota's friends told Bradenton police detectives they do not believe he knew the shooter.

Police say witnesses described anywhere between one to three people seen running from the area.

Smith lived only three blocks away from where his body was found by officers Thursday.

A lot of questions remain, and Dakota's family wants answers.

His family hopes to continue to raise awareness about the case.

Smith was a freshman at Horizons Academy High School in Bradenton.

He had no criminal record.

A fundraising effort is also in effect to help the family with funeral costs.

Anyone with any information about the case should call Bradenton police Detective James Curulla at 941-747-3011, ext. 2224, or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000, call Crime Stoppers (toll free) at 1-866-634-8477 (TIPS) or send an anonymous E-Tip through the web at

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