Parent meeting held at Dream Center to encourage witnesses to speak up

By Ashley Jeffery/Summer Smith/Cait McVey , Team Coverage
Last Updated: Friday, August 02, 2013, 10:53 PM EDT

Organizers at the 13th Avenue Dream Center held a parent meeting to discuss the shooting that occured the previous night and to encourage those who know something to speak up.

According to police, the shooting happened Thursday just after 8 p.m. at the 13th Avenue Dream Center on 24th Street East. Officials said Brenton Coleman Sr. was shot and killed in front of about 500 people who were at the park at the time. 

Officials said Coleman, 39, was watching the Manatee Mustangs youth football practice when multiple men with guns ran across the parking lot towards him. According to police, Coleman tried to run away but the men chased him, while shooting at the same time.

Zion Belleam, a youth football player says he heard the gunshots and ran.

"People were like go, go, go!  And the staff here, they took us into the gym," said Belleam.

Coleman was shot while trying to escape and died at the park. Investigators said Coleman lived in the area of the center and has children. Officials said Coleman was not a coach but did have children who participate in the league and were at the field at the time of the shooting.

Witnesses, who said they were trying to protect themselves and children in the crowd, told police they did not get a good look at the gunmen. There were no other injuries reported.

Bradenton mom Nadia Miller doesn't believe that out of hundreds of people, no one saw anything.

"All these people out here and you're telling me nobody saw nothing?  Nobody saw someone come in this gate?  Nobody saw nothing?  I don't believe it," said Miller.

“It's imperative we get these guys locked up as soon as possible before someone else senselessly loses their lives,” said Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski.

In response to the shooting, the United Community Centers released a statement saying the incident was isolated and not related to the programs offered by the Dream Center or the Manatee Mustangs.

"We express our sincere condolences to the family of the victim of this senseless isolated act of violence."

Dream Center CEO Patrick Carnegie said they are working to make sure their children and parents are safe.

"It was a targeted incident that could have happened anywhere in the community but unfortunately there are a lot of ills in community and violence and it just happened to happen here," he said. "But programs are safe. We are working with law enforcement to step up security even more and we will not let negatives upset and change what we do as a community center."

Coach Everett Smalls said on any given night, up to 300 kids can be found playing sports and having fun.

"Not where the kids are," said Smalls. "Take it somewhere else if you have to, but like I said, this is sacred ground."

Friday night’s practice was cancelled.

Bradenton police are asking anyone with information to call them at (941) 932-9300.

This is the eighth homicide in Manatee County so far this year.