MANATEE — Elizabeth Reed says she received the shock of her life Thursday when Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detectives found the man they believe killed Julius Brown barricaded in her house.
In tears Monday, Reed, 66, said her granddaughter had been dating Antwon Stuckey, but she barely knew him.
Reed said he had never slept at her house, and she fears for her life after detectives pulled him from her home.
“I have nothing to do with him, and I am afraid someone is going to shoot the place up in retaliation,” Reed said.
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Reed also said guns found in her house in the 500 block of 21st Street East, Palmetto, were hers for self-protection, and that she believes Stuckey never had his hands on them.
“That boy had no business being here. I have no idea how he got in this house that day. It’s a question I am still trying to get answered,” Reed said. “I hate all this stuff, this violence.”
Just after 7 a.m. Thursday, chaos rocked Reed’s neighborhood after a masked gunman burst into Brown’s home in the Highland Apartments, a few blocks up and across the street from Reed, and shot him in his sleep.
A 15-year-old boy, Brown’s cousin, was also in the apartment and was threatened by the gunman, according to sheriff’s reports.
Hundreds of people filled the street in the aftermath of the shooting, as sheriff’s detectives began investigating.
In the hours after the shooting, detectives acted on a tip that Stuckey might have been the shooter and was hiding in Reed’s home. Reed said she had heard the commotion outside, but she has trouble walking because of severe arthritis and did not leave her home that morning. Not until sheriff’s detectives escorted her to a neighbor’s home while they searched her house. “They asked me if he was here and I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ People were telling me not to let them search, but I did. I didn’t have anything to hide.”
Reed told them she owned two handguns and what she thought was a BB gun, which turned out to a .22-caliber rifle, in her bedroom.
Sheriff’s detectives confiscated them and told her they would be tested against any evidence collected in the Brown shooting before they would be returned, Reed said. “They are my guns. He has nothing to do with them,” Reed said of Stuckey.
Reed said sheriff’s detectives then searched her home and found Stuckey barricaded in another bedroom in the house. He was arrested on an armed robbery warrant, and is in jail on $1 million bond on the charge after a prosecutor called him the “prime suspect” in Brown’s slaying, for which he has not been charged.
Sheriff Brad Steube declined comment, citing an open investigation. “When I came back everything was ransacked,” Reed said with tears running down her face. “Everything was dumped out. It was just terrible. I have never had anything like this in my home.” Reed attributed the mess to the search of the home by sheriff’s investigators.
Steube said when his deputies got to Stuckey in the room, it was “trashed.” “He turned over some dressers to barricade himself in so we couldn’t get to him,” Steube said. “My SWAT team told me it was a big mess when they got in.”
Reed said she has questioned her granddaughter, who she now cannot find, about how Stuckey got in her house. She has received no answer, she said. “She and this Antwon put me through all this. Brought the police in here to take apart my home,” Reed said. “I hope they solve this shooting. The violence just ruins everything.”
Anyone with information about Brown’s slaying can call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011, or Crimestoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.