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Man found shot to death inside Brandon apartment

Published Jun. 24, 2012

BRANDON — Henry Foster was watching the news Thursday morning when he saw something familiar on the television screen: his brother's apartment building.

It was cordoned off with crime scene tape. He called his sister, who contacted authorities. When she didn't call him back, Foster feared the worst.

"That's when I found out it really was him," he said. "I had that gut feeling."

His brother, Leon Davis, 49, was shot and killed by at least two gunmen in a Brandon apartment, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies said. A woman described by Davis' friends and family as his girlfriend called 911 and hid in the bathroom with their three children.

Investigators disclosed few details about the killing at 502 Camino Real Court at the Palisades Apartments, but said Davis' slaying is not random.

The Sheriff's Office said detectives were working Thursday evening to identify the suspects and determine a motive.

His family has many unanswered questions.

"He was a good person. He didn't bother nobody. And he loved his children," said Foster, Davis' oldest brother. "He always took care of his children. ... He didn't deserve what he got."

Davis was the seventh born among 13 brothers and sisters ranging from 21 to 58 years old, his friends and family said.

Davis had a large family of his own. The father of seven, his three youngest children, ages 1, 3 and 6, were at the apartment when he was killed.

He was going to be a grandfather soon: two of his oldest daughters are pregnant.

Davis loved to cook (crab and sweet potato bread were among his specialties), helped out with chores and braided his youngest daughters' hair.

Davis had been dating his girlfriend, whom deputies said they have not identified because she is a witness, for about nine years, his family said.

On Thursday morning, detectives interviewed neighbors and photographed skid marks found near the apartment building.

Steven Rivera, 18, lives in an apartment across the hall from where Davis was killed. Rivera said he heard loud bangs early Thursday. Moments later, Davis' girlfriend knocked on his door. Rivera's uncle let her in.

"She was crying and covered in blood," Rivera said. Deputies interviewed her Thursday.

Dozens of relatives gathered Thursday at a home in Plant City. Some skimmed through photo albums that contained pictures of a smiling Davis. Others watched TV reports of his death.

Sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon said anyone with information about the crime should call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 800-873-8477.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.


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