Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa defendant says he was handing over gun when it went off

TAMPA — The gunshot that struck the mother of his twin babies just above the eye was a peace gesture gone awry, a jury heard a defendant say.

"I'm not a murderer," insisted Cedrick Salter, 30, a Tampa DJ charged with fatally shooting his girlfriend, Saquanda Simon, at her home on Sept. 8, 2009. "I didn't go there intending to kill my kids' mother. She was a sweet girl. I'm not a bad guy."

Salter's words — often interspersed with heaving sobs — were part of a videotaped statement he made to Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives after his arrest. At least one member of the jury broke down in tears as the video played Wednesday.

On the video, Salter contradicted much of the testimony given by the victim's family members, who were in the room when she was shot.

The family said Salter had come to the house in a rage after Simon hadn't responded to his numerous text messages. She was still dressed in blue scrubs from her job at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. They said he pursued Simon from room to room and refused to leave even after Simon's mother, Arleen Jackson, called 911.

The family said Salter suddenly pulled a gun and shot twice as Simon held one of the 18-month-old twins in her arms. The baby, they said, fell to the floor with her.

On the video, Salter said Simon was not holding the baby. "Do you think I would kill my daughter's mother with my daughter in her hands?"

He said Simon's mother had overreacted when she called 911. There was no real argument before the shooting, he said. "The mom was going crazy, screaming," he said.

Threatening text messages he had sent to Simon moments earlier were just "crazy," he said, only meant "to get her attention."

He also said the 9mm semiautomatic he carried was only for protection against muggers in the neighborhood.

After the mother's 911 call, he said he took the pistol from his pocket in order to hand it to the mother, whom he called Mama Gail.

"I said, 'Here, Mama Gail, hold the gun while we talk.' "

At that point, Salter said, two male family members grabbed his arms and pushed him from behind.

"My arm twisted up. The gun went 'POP! POP!' "

Then, "My mind went crazy."

He ran from the house.

The jury has not been told about a domestic violence complaint Simon made the previous March.

In the complaint, Simon said she had broken up with Salter after finding out he was seeing other women. She said Simon had texted her repeatedly, then came to her home. She said he forced her into a car and threatened to stab her with a screwdriver.

Her complaint was dropped after Simon failed to show up for a hearing.

Tampa defendant says he was handing over gun when it went off 04/27/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]