ST. PETERSBURG — Tim O'Connell thought he was dreaming.
About 5 a.m. Sunday, he heard what he believed were seven or eight gunshots coming from somewhere near his Old Southeast home. Then a pause. Then several more shots.
O'Connell, a 35-year-old project manager, got up to look around. He didn't see or hear anything more. He stumbled back to bed.
A few hours later, detectives came knocking. There was a body on the back lawn of the garage apartment next door.
"My neighbor said she went to walk the dog when she saw him," O'Connell said.
Police identified the dead man as Naykee D. Bostic, 31, of St. Petersburg. When they arrived on the scene about 10:10 a.m., they found Bostic behind 1803 Beach Drive SE, with gunshot wounds to his upper body. Detectives said they had no suspects and are unsure of the motive for the killing.
Still unclear is what Bostic may have been doing at the time of the shooting, and how he got from his Pinellas Point-area home to where his body was found, across from Lassing Park.
Bostic's family thinks it has to do with someone who came to see him early Sunday.
Joseph Streeter, Bostic's uncle, said that between 4 and 5 a.m., someone pulled up to cream-colored one-story home Bostic shared with his grandmother. The person blared the car's horn. Bostic went outside to talk.
A few minutes later, Bertha Bostic heard the car speed off. Her grandson, whom she raised from an infant, did not come back into the house. She would never see him alive again.
"I don't think he went outside with the intention to leave. He didn't even have his shoes on," said Streeter, who is 13 years older. The two were raised as brothers. "I don't know if he was forced to get in the car or what."
Laminka Williams, a cousin, said she believes whoever killed Bostic knew him.
"He had to know them and trust them," she said. "They took him from here and killed him. It's crazy. Who does that?"
Williams said Bostic was a devoted father to an 11-year-old girl. She said he attended Dixie Hollins High School and most recently worked as a handyman.
Bostic has been in trouble before, his family said. He was released from prison in 2011 after serving two years for dealing in stolen property, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. He also has convictions for drug possession and sales, records show.
"He had his trials and tribulations," Streeter said. "He still had a good heart and he was devoted to his family and his daughter. He will be missed."
Sunday afternoon, detectives again stopped by the Bostic home. They told family members they didn't have any updates.
Shortly afterward, family members circled Bertha Bostic. They held the 70-year-old up as she cried in the middle of her living room. She was too distraught.
"It's too much," she moaned. "Too much."
Kameel Stanley can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8643.