MANATEE — Detectives continued to investigate the slaying of two people late Tuesday night in Bradenton.
Investigators said the deaths of Demetrius William Seabrooks Cunningham, 23, and Calvin Barnes, 16, appear to be related since the shootings took place just 45 minutes apart. Investigators believe both victims knew each other but did not reveal a possible motive.
“We’re trying to find out more about their relationship,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow. “At this point, we don’t have a motive.”
Pedro Seabrooks, Cunningham’s father, said he last saw his son about a month ago when he came to stay with him in Tampa after a recent wave of violence struck the community.
Since Sept. 4, there have been a total of six homicides — half of which occurred in a small area of Oneco.
Cunningham’s brother, Ta Heem Blake, 19, was recently convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison after he shot and killed a 55-year-old woman in a botched home invasion last year. One of the occupants fired back paralyzing Blake from the neck down.
Cunningham had just left a friend’s apartment when he was shot in the parking lot of the Mira Lagos apartments in the 400 block of 34th Avenue Drive East at about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday
Neighbors said they heard three gunshots, then saw Cunningham lying in the parking lot bleeding with a gunshot wound to the head.
“He was leaving. He said, ‘I’m going to go,’” said a woman Cunningham was visiting Tuesday evening, who asked not be named. “The next thing I heard was, ‘Boom. Boom. Boom.’ They were right back to back. That’s too loud to be fireworks.”
The woman, who had not slept since the shooting, described Cunningham as quiet and laid back. They met at a local night club a couple of months ago and began talking on a regular basis.
“I’m just shocked. Not in a million years did I think this would happened,” she said.
Cunningham was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg where he died Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities found Barnes in the 3800 block of 26th Avenue East near overgrown vegetation and a cattle pasture at about 11:04 p.m.
“We don’t know if he was dumped there,” Bristow said when asked about the location.
Barnes was also taken to Bayfront Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Barnes dropped out of AMI Kids Academy last spring, according to school officials.
The deaths bring the number of homicides county-wide to 13 this year.
Authorities plan to increase patrol in the event there are more shootings.
“We’re certainly aware there could be,” Bristow said. “You get as prepared as you can be.”
Anyone with any information about the shootings can call the sheriff’s office at 747-3011, ext. 2493, or remain anonymous and possibly become eligible for a cash reward by calling Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS (8477).