Exclusive: Turnpike Shooter’s Family Stunned Over Violence
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just days after David Edwin Bradley shot two law enforcement officers before turning the gun on himself on the Florida Turnpike; details of Bradley’s past are adding more questions to what led to Thursday’s shootings.
Felicia Puckerin, David’s mother, has trouble believing the man that shot the officers was her son.
“It’s like two different people,” Puckerin told CBS’s Lauren Pastrana. “Anyone that will walk in the door, you ask them about David and they would tell you that he was a loving person. He was happy.”
Alecia Bradley, David’s sister, said her brother was kind and giving, especially with her 3-year-old daughter.
During CBS4’s interview, the little girl said she would miss her uncle.
“My daughter loves him,” Alecia said. “She would call him her superhero. He played with her day in and day out.”
The family didn’t hear from Bradley Thursday and it wasn’t until Friday around noon when Alecia saw his picture in the news that they realized something was wrong.
“I went on the Internet on my phone and instantly, I know how my brother looks, I know how he stands. Instantly, I knew it was him,” Alecia said.
While Alecia was certain, her mother hoped they had the wrong man.
“I said, ‘You guys are lying,'” Puckerin said. “I called my husband a liar. He tried to tell me that’s him. I said, ‘No, that’s not my child. That cannot be David. David would never do that.'”
Bradley had a criminal past, mainly for drug possession. He had been arrested eight times in Miami-Dade County and faced prowling, trespassing, and marijuana charges in Broward County.
Puckerin said David was recently fired from his restaurant job, but said she can’t imagine that is what sent him over the edge.
“What led up to this, I don’t know,” Puckerin said. “I’m still trying to deal with it. I’m tired of asking myself why, why he did this?”
While Puckerin’s grief is still raw, she wishes that she could ease the pain of those affected by her son’s violence.
“Our hearts go out to the people that were affected by it,” Puckerin said. “I hope that everybody turns out okay and is doing well. But that image that everyone saw was not who he was as a person.”
Key Biscayne Police officer Nelia Real remains hospitalized after Bradley shot her in the face, but she is slowly improving.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement assistant field office director Gabriel Martinez was also shot in the arm, but was released from Memorial Regional Hospital Saturday afternoon.
Officer Real is just 19 months shy of retirement. She’s set to be honored this month by the Miami-Dade chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.