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Tampa man found shot to death in his bed

TAMPA — A 20-year-old man was found shot to death in his bed Wednesday morning, Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies said.

About 2 a.m., deputies went to 6922 Baldwin Circle, just off Orient Road, after a woman who lives in the home called 911, said sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway.

Deputies found Dontae Leslie, one of several people who live there, dead in a bedroom. Callaway said at least two residents were home at the time. No one was arrested.

Leslie's family gathered outside in the predawn darkness.

"That's my baby," said Ruby Washington, 40, Leslie's mother. Visibly shaken, Washington talked about her son's birthday July 7.

"He said, 'Mom, I just want steak and shrimp,' " Washington recalled, laughing. "And I said, 'Well, you're turning 20, so I'll get you a card with $20 in it, too.' "

Washington said Leslie wasn't a perfect child but "he was good at heart."

"He had his ways, which we all do," she said. "He was loved, and he was hated. … I just don't know."

Leslie's 18-year-old brother, Danion Mcogg, said he didn't know of anyone who would want Leslie dead. His cousin, Nichelle Watson, 20, saw him the other night at an Ybor City nightclub. "You never really heard about people messing with him," Watson said.

Leslie didn't have a job, his family said, and no one asked him how he got by. His aunt, Michelle Harris, said she and other family members encouraged him to find some stability in his life.

"He's always been the one that rebelled," Harris said. "There's a saying we were brought up with: 'You live in the streets, you die in the streets.' "

Leslie was arrested four times in Hillsborough County on charges of robbery, possession of cocaine and driving without a license, records show.

Born in the United States, Leslie had roots in Jamaica. His father, Ikarl, still lives there, Washington said. Leslie is survived by two brothers, Danion and Ikarl Jr., 23.

Family members knew of at least four people who lived with Leslie at the Baldwin Circle home — a woman he was involved with, a man near his age, an older man and a 17-year-old. No one was sure about their names.

"He hung out on the streets. I'm not going to lie about that," Washington said of her son. "But he was a believer. I know he's going to heaven."

Tampa man found shot to death in his bed 07/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 16, 2009 12:20am]
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