BRADENTON -- The man who was shot to death early Tuesday morning while driving in the 600 block of 24th Street East has been identified as 31-year-old Ceola Lazier III.
Lazier, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds, was pronounced dead at the scene.
He was driving about 2:30 a.m. near the intersection with Seventh Avenue East. His car came to rest, angled on the road, with one tire on the sidewalk.
Lt. John Affolter, Bradenton Police spokesman, said detectives believe Lazier was targeted. He was alone in his vehicle.
Affolter said Thursday that the shooting did not appear to be gang-related and likely was tied to drug activity.
No suspects have been identified.
Lazier has a criminal record dating back to when he turned 18. He had several felony convictions, primarily on drug-related charges. He was most recently convicted last year on drug-related charges and driving with a revoked license.
Natalie Stanford, Lazier's aunt who lives at the corner where he was slain, said she was not home during the incident.
"It's just another tragedy in Manatee County," Stanford said Tuesday morning. "We're trying to piece everything together and praying the police finish their investigation and find out what's going on."
Stanford said Lazier, who she called "Little Bo," was not married but did have children. Lazier and her son would see each other occasionally.
"It's just another senseless killing. It's time for this to stop. It has to cease," Stanford said. "My heart goes out for my sister.
Lazier's immediate family have declined to comment.
Lazier's death is the 13th homicide in Manatee County this year, and the first within Bradenton.
An earlier slaying, later deemed self-defense, is excluded from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement homicide statistics.
Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.