TAMPA -- It was the first murder of 2015, but it took nearly two years for a suspect to be arrested in connection with the shooting death of 18-year-old Lyfe Coleman.
TPD arrested Reginald Bowman, 21, of Tampa, Wednesday following an investigation that spanned months.
Coleman was gunned down in his front yard at 3107 Jefferson Street on January 5, 2015. His aunt was inside the house when she heard Coleman yell followed by two gunshots. She discovered her nephew lying in a pool of blood.
In June, Coleman's father Life Malcolm spoke out against surging gun deaths in Tampa while also asking for someone to come forward to identify a potential suspect.
Bowman was a person of interest in this incident back in March 2015, when a visor discovered at the scene which did not belong to Coleman was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for DNA testing. They received confirmation that Bowman's DNA was on the visor.
TPD interviewed Bowman shortly thereafter, who denied his involvement in the murder and said that he had no contact with the victim for two years.
Working on an anonymous tip, detectives were led to an unnamed teen who said he barely knew Bowman, but admitted in a second interview that he heard Bowman talk about planning a robbery. He later recanted that statement, but another tipster said that Bowman wanted to arrange the sale of a gun to Coleman, but would rob him instead.
An analysis of Coleman's cell phone showed that he was in contact with an individual who wanted to sell a gun. With this new evidence, detectives returned to Bowman and placed him under arrest and charged whim with second degree felony murder.
Coleman's mother Sonia spoke out about the arrest of a suspect in her son's murder.
"Lyfe was my first-born son and I miss him immensely. I want to thank the community of all their support. I want to thank Detective Neal Smith for his diligence in pursuing the case. I want to thank my work family for their support. And I want to thank his father; I know he was very diligent in keeping up with the case," Sonia Coleman said.
(© 2016 WTSP)