Candlelight vigil held for Bradenton homicide victim Dequan Randolph

Zakai Cherenfant, 11, cries as he holds a candle and a picture of his deceased step-father, Dequan Randolph and his mother, Rosemary Randolph, during a candlelight vigil for Dequan Randolph.
Zack Wittman/Bradenton Herald

(This story originally appeared in the Bradenton Herald)

BRADENTON — As the sun set Thursday, Ammie Houston walked down Twelfth Avenue West towards the intersection where her son was killed a week ago.

“This, he didn’t deserve this,” the 45-year-old said. “He didn’t deserve this. Not this. Mm-mm.”

Dequan Randolph, 30, died Nov. 3. after being found with a gunshot wound to the neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

At 6:17 a.m. that Thursday, police were called to the 1100 block of Fifth Street West in Bradenton. Officers found Randolph after there was a report of shots fired, according to Bradenton Police Capt. William Fowler.

Derrick Bernard Frazier, 32, was charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting. According to the sheriff’s office, Frazier was cheating on his wife and she decided to make him jealous by making up an affair of her own. That’s when Frazier’s wife and other eyewitnesses said Frazier pulled up in the pickup truck, put the gun up to Randolph and shot him in the center of his chest.

Houston and about 20 others stood by the intersection of 12th Avenue West and 5th Street West on Thursday evening to remember Randolph. They said he was outspoken and giving as they lit white and burgundy taper candles. Felton Miller, a former pastor who lives just down the street, led a prayer.

“I’m asking you to touch his mother, touch his wife, God, touch his children, God, touch the whole family, God,” the 71-year-old said, his eyes closed shut. “In the name of Jesus. Lord, I know this is a sorrow moment but God I’m asking you to touch them. Come in the midst and touch them right now, God.”

Randolph’s father, Johnny C. Harris, stared silently at the spot where his son had been found. Before the vigil, he said he was deeply hurt.

“Just hurt,” he said, his gruff voice trembling slightly. “Just to see him laying over there on the ground. I stood over there all day and watched that… just hurt. About nothing, it shouldn’t have been. It shouldn’t have never happened. That’s the way I feel.”

At the vigil, family and friends chuckled over funny stories about Randolph. They looked down at a patch of grass where Houston had placed a painted cross with Randolph’s date of birth — and death.

“I know I’m going to miss that pretty smile,” said Jeannie Couran, 54. “Every time I seen him, he had his head down smiling.”

Others nodded in agreement.

“He was a brother from another mother,” said Vincent Dawes, 60. “I would always tell him.”

Randolph’s wife, Rosemary Randolph, said it doesn’t seem real. Her son Zakai Cherenfant, 11, stood nearby holding a photo of herself and Randolph. In it, the couple beamed.

“Although I’m here and I’ve shed tears, and I’ve seen the obituary in the paper… it still don’t seem real,” she said. “He wasn’t a bad person. He wasn’t a gangster, he wasn’t a drug dealer, you know, and for this to happen. For him to get shot? It just don’t seem real. It’s like a bad dream.”

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