Family and friends of Brenton Coleman Sr. said their final goodbyes Saturday to the man who was gunned down during a packed youth football practice in Brandenton.
Loved ones packed into the church, some too emotional to say much at all.
"He was like my brother," Coleman's friend, Mike Blakely, said through tears. "What was not to like about him? He was a good guy."
Brenton Coleman Jr., however, was not among those at the funeral. He and his uncle, Gerrell Houston, were still in jail following their arrests earlier this week.
Bradenton Police said Coleman Jr. and Houston were in a car that was pulled over for speeding; investigators said they found a pair of loaded AK-47's in the vehicle. Coleman Jr. pleaded with a judge during his first appearance to be allowed the chance to get out of jail so he could make it to his father's funeral, but the judge denied bond for him and Houston.
Several Bradenton officers, however, were sent to the funeral as the police department continued its increased patrols. Investigators said they're concerned because there's an ongoing conflict between two families in the city that reached a violent culmination when Coleman Sr. was murdered a little more than a week ago at a Manatee Mustangs youth football practice at the 13th Avenue Dream Center.
"We want to be able to have a presence [at the funeral] just in case there are people out there that want to do something," said Bradenton Police Capt. William Fowler, who said those involved in the conflict are spread throughout Manatee County. "It just goes to show you that what happened at the Dream Center could happen anywhere."
As Coleman Sr. was laid to rest, parents picked up football equipment at the Dream Center, most said they felt the murder was an isolated incident and don't believe the violence will extend beyond those already involved.
"It's been pretty good. Everybody has come together as a family," said Atasha Snipes, a parent of a Manatee Mustangs player. "I've seen a lot of protection for the kids, police here from the beginning of the practice until the end of the practice."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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