Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Public safety

Tampa police investigate two deaths at Sulphur Springs home

SULPHUR SPRINGS — The young boy walked into the house on Brooks Street after school Monday. He was just stopping by to pick up some things.

He couldn't figure out why 36-year-old Lacy Coleman wouldn't wake up.

The boy ran outside to tell an adult — Coleman's cousin — who then went inside the home at 8218 N Brooks St. and discovered her dead. In another room, a man was also dead.

Both died of blunt trauma to their upper bodies, police said.

Investigators said the killings were not random — that the house had been targeted. They were looking for a killer, but said no suspect description was yet available.

Police said their investigation had turned up several names for the adult man and woman found dead in the house. They said they would ask the medical examiner to positively identify them through fingerprints.

Several family members at the scene, however, told the Tampa Bay Times that one of the victims was Coleman.

Police got the 911 call at 1:41 p.m., but had to wait several hours for a judge to sign a search warrant so investigators could go inside the pale pink house, near Waters and Nebraska avenues.

Meanwhile, a crowd of about 100 gathered along the police tape surrounding the house — including family members.

Terryelle Cohens loudly sobbed. Coleman is her mother.

"When I had nobody, I could count on her," she said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. She's all I've got."

Several family members held on to Cohens. One handed her a cigarette.

"They didn't have to kill my mother," she said, crying.

Coleman loved to sit on her porch and watch the neighborhood children play, family members said. She bought a little pool for them to cool off during hot afternoons, said Elaine Forbes, a cousin.

"She was real sweet," said Forbes, 31. "She didn't bother anybody."

Several people lived in the house, including the man who was found dead. Family members said Coleman would take in friends who needed a place to stay.

Coleman had two daughters.

Several family members said they had no idea why anyone would harm her.

Police did not release a motive for the killings.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

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