Detectives urge 'code of silence' to be broken around New Year's Day homicides
MANATEE -- After a deadly start to the new year, detectives are working to find whoever is responsible for two shootings that left three people dead Friday.
Before the sun rose New Year's Day in Manatee County, deputies responded to a home in the 5700 block of 11th Street East in Bradenton after receiving a 911 call from a relative who had found Demetrius Robinson, 37, and his girlfriend, Florence Randall, 31, shot dead. The relative went to the couple's home in the triplex and found their bodies.
Detectives say they believe the couple was targeted. A motive has not been released.
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A few hours later, deputies again were called to a deadly scene.
Between 12:45 p.m. and 1 p.m., deputies were called to the 500 block of 60th Avenue Terrace West in Bradenton to reports of gunfire.
When they arrived, they found Julio Tellez, 26, shot to death outside the front door of the home. A 29-year-old man was also shot in the forearm and taken to a local hospital. A third victim was uninjured, according to the report.
No arrests have been made yet, sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow said Saturday afternoon.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office Homicide Investigative Unit worked late into Friday night, and was out again early Saturday investigating the shootings.
"We are making some progress in both," Bristow.
The unit, however, made more progress in the second shooting, he said, but the sheriff's office was not ready to release more details.
Detectives conducted many interviews Saturday trying to piece together what happened.
Witnesses at the second scene were being somewhat cooperative, Bristow said.
"I'm sure there's people out there that know something and that we haven't talked to," he added.
Darryl Davis, lead homicide detective in the death of Robinson and Randall, was investigating at the home late Saturday afternoon where the couple were found dead. Davis said he was irritated by the lack of cooperation in this case and other recent homicides.
"The citizens of Manatee County, we need your help with these homicides that have occurred on Jan. 1. It seems like the community had taken a stance of code of silence and we are out here as law enforcement daily trying to bring justice for these acts that are committed," Davis said. "We ask that this code of silence not become a norm. Will somebody stand up and be a voice in this community?"
Davis went on as he stood next to the Crimestoppers sign he placed in front of the home.
"Everybody should care because every life does matter, not only to their loved ones but also to law enforcement," Davis said. "So we need you to stand up, come out, and if you can help us there's the Crimestoppers tip, we need your help in getting these homicides solved."
In the second homicide, lead homicide detective Ray Mass said they have a person of interest and are still looking for additional witnesses to come forward with information.
Having multiple homicides at multiple scenes in one day put a strain on the various departments involved, including detectives and crime-scene technicians, he said.
"It does obviously when you are working two scenes ... everyone is tested," Bristow said. "That's the beauty of having the unit."
One homicide unit strength is the detectives work as a team to assist, he said.
Crime-scene technicians are still processing evidence from both scenes.
The second gunshot victim in the second homicide scene is recovering from his nonlife-threatening injury.
"We still need help," Bristow said.
Anyone with information on either case should call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011, ext. 2519, remain anonymous and eligible for a cash reward call Crimestoppers at 866-634-TIPS or submit an e-tip online at manateecrimestoppers.com.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.