MANATEE — Every morning Melvin Turner would leave his home off of 61st Avenue East and walk to Able Body Labor in hopes to be assigned to temporary work.
While on that same walk Thursday morning, Turner, 46, was fatally shot in the 700 block of 61st Avenue East.
“I just want to know who did it because my brother don’t bother nobody. He goes that same way to work every day,” said Turner’s sister, Ruby Harris, with whom he lived. “He calls me every day to let me know he got out on some type of job. I call him back on my break and we talk about 10 minutes, then he would tell me, ‘I’ve got to go. I’ll talk with you when I get home.’ He ain’t never had problems walking to work.”
Instead of receiving a call from her brother, Harris’ daughter phoned to say there was an emergency and she was needed at home.
“I had to rush up out of there,” Harris said, who thought something was wrong with her daughter’s pregnancy. “I thought she was sick. I didn’t know I’d come into something like this.”
When Harris pulled into the neighborhood adjacent to Pride Community Park, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office was on scene with crime tape barricading the area. Officials received a call about 5:45 a.m. when a resident reported finding a body in the parking lot of a duplex.
“I hate it happened right where I live,” said a neighbor who asked to remain unidentified. “I’m fixing to move now.”
Detectives have not established a motive behind the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.
“They wouldn’t even let me through the four-way (stop),” Harris said.
That’s when she received a phone call saying Turner had been shot.
“I didn’t think he was dead, shot, but not dead,” she said.
People filled Pride Community Park, watching through the north gate, as Turner’s body was curtained off and carried away. Southern Manatee Fire Rescue arrived on scene to finish clearing the area.
A few blocks away, Harris laughed at memories of Turner while sitting at her kitchen table just hours after hearing the news of her brother’s death.
“He’s just goofy. He’s kind of loud when he talks and then he’ll just bust out laughing, but he can be aggravating and make you mad, too,” Harris said. “He’s just Melvin. He’s the type to get along with anybody — he don’t care who they is or what color they is.”
Harris said Turner was mostly a homebody, who had stayed home Wednesday because he was sick. But he was a hard worker, like herself, Harris added.
“I’ll miss my floor being swept a hundred times a day,” Harris said with a laugh. “He’d keep the house clean. He was very tidy.”
Turner leaves behind two sons and a daughter. Harris said she talked to the oldest son who is “terrified and upset.”
Now, she is left with the burden of telling other family members.
“My mom passed because she had cancer. My sister died in a car accident a couple years later,” Harris said. “The family has had deaths the last six months and now this. I can’t take any more. I can’t believe this happened.”
Harris removed her glasses, placing her hand over her face, wiping tears away with a tissue.
“He was the baby boy. I’m the baby girl, so we’re pretty tight,” she said. “It ain’t hit me yet.”
Turner’s death is the 22nd homicide in Manatee County this year.