Crime

Detectives following leads in fatal shooting

An 18-year-old man was found dead in a pool of blood late Sunday in Palmetto.
An 18-year-old man was found dead in a pool of blood late Sunday in Palmetto. acastillo@bradenton.com

Detectives are following leads as they investigate the death of a Palmetto teen found lying on the side of a road in a pool of blood late Sunday night.

At about 11:40 p.m. Sunday, a motorist driving in the 2000 block of First Avenue East spotted Alexander Anderson lying on the east side of the road in a pool of blood. Detectives said it appeared Anderson had been shot several times in the upper body.

Anderson lived only two blocks from where he was found dead.

A homicide investigation is now underway by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Investigative Unit.

“We have developments,” sheriff office spokesman Dave Bristow said as detectives work to determine what led to the fatal shooting. “We are starting to get a possible scenario.”

Remembered for laughter

The aunt who raised him for most of his life said Anderson will be remembered for the smile he had since he was a young boy.

“He got in a bit of trouble from time to time, but he was my angel,” Joyce Randall said.

Anderson had four brothers, ages 19, 16, 13 and 12, all of whom were in Randall’s care at one point, she said. She had raised Anderson since he was about 2 years old until his mother got out of prison.

“He was always laughing. ... He made me laugh,” Randall said.

She had fell in love with the boy’s smile, when he was a baby.

Now she wants justice for his death.

“He was not a bad person. He was walking down the road, and they shot him in the back,” Randall said. “He wasn’t doing nothing. I want to see who did this and they got to pay for this.”

Troubled past

The teen — who had a warrant out for his arrest and was a suspect in multiple armed robberies — was familiar to local law enforcement.

At the time of his death, the sheriff’s office had a warrant signed by a judge charging Anderson with aggravated battery.

Anderson had been in a street fight with two other people when the alleged victim attempted to break it up, according to information from the warrant affidavit. In response, the victim told investigators that Anderson threw a rock at her, hitting her in the ankle.

As result of being hit by the rock, the alleged victim suffered a torn ligament to her right ankle and may now need surgery. The victim had known Anderson her entire life, so she was able to name him to deputies.

On Dec. 23, 2014, Anderson was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon. Anderson, then 16 years old, stopped attending the Horizons Academy alternative school that same month.

According to court documents, on Dec. 2 Anderson had gone to the Citrus Meadows Apartment community with another teen so he could borrow money from a girl, the other teen told police. Knowing that they could run into people that they had personal issues with, the other teen said Anderson had borrowed a gun from someone else in Citrus Meadows.

While they waited for the girl to get home, the other teen got involved in a confrontation with a third teen and that boy’s mother, according to court documents. It was then allegedly that Anderson was heard racking the weapon and saying he would shoot the third teen.

When they saw police coming, Anderson and the other teen ran off and then eventually returned the .25-caliber firearm to the owner.

The charges were dropped in September 2015 by the State Attorney’s Office.

Other investigation continues

The Manatee Homicide Investigative Unit is also still looking for information about what led to the fatal shooting of a Bradenton man in the Oneco neighborhood early Thursday morning.

At 6:22 a.m. Thursday, deputies responded to a 911 call of a man down and found Charles E. Saffore Jr., 36, dead at the corner of 58th Avenue Drive East and 10th Street Court East in the Oneco neighborhood. The 911 caller had not reported hearing shots being fired.

Saffore, who had a gun in his possession when the body was found, had been shot at least once.

Since Thursday, detectives have received a “little bit” of information regarding what may have led up to Saffore’s death, according to Bristow.

“We have some theories, what he was doing and what happened, nothing we are prepared to share and nothing that has led to a suspect,” he said.

Anyone with any information regarding either homicide case can call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011, ext. 2519. Or to remain anonymous and be possibly eligible for a reward, call Manatee Crime Stoppers at 866-634-8477 (TIPS) or submit an e-tip online at manateecrimestoppers.com.

Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012

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