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Unsolved murders from 2013 still haunt Orlando

Tamika Bryant is still waiting for justice after the shooting death of her husband, Herman “Lil Man” Brant; also, brief profiles of three other unsolved murders from 2013

Photo: Photos courtesy Tamika Bryant, License: N/A

Photos courtesy Tamika Bryant

Photo: , License: N/A

“I think they know who the killer is,” Tamika said. “They just don’t have enough evidence to convict him. They mentioned that to me.”

Detectives told her the suspect is from a nearby neighborhood, but not much else, especially a motive. She said that Lil Man hadn’t been in a fight or an argument with anyone.

“I think they were targeting someone else there,” Tamika said. “It actually wasn’t for him. That’s why everyone took it so hard, because everyone is saying, ‘Of all the people who were in the house, why did the one good person there end up being the one who got shot?’”

Lil Man’s dead body was the first that Tamika had ever seen. The year 2013 was not kind to her: Her father-in-law died in January; her grandmother in February; her great-aunt two weeks later; Lil Man in April; and her father in May.

Later during the same month Lil Man was slain, his friends and family marched to Cadogan Avenue to hold a vigil, hoping to raise awareness and promote justice.

Lil Man’s brother, Anthony Bryant, said that they wanted answers. “We just want the detectives to have some help and people to just give them the information that they need, because it’s definitely hard on Mom, and it’s hard on the rest of us and his wife,” he told WESH-TV.

“All we want is justice,” Bryant’s mother said in a cracked, wavering voice.

“If you speak to someone else about my husband and I, we were together every day, 24/7,” Tamika said. “When I get off of work from the jail, I’m with him. We were at the restaurant. All my off days – we were together all day. So we were each other’s best friend. We were together all the time. It’s hard to pick up the pieces and go.”

Still, Tamika intends to go forward with the group home that she and Lil Man always envisioned. She plans to name it “Herman’s Helping Hands.”

“It was our dream, so I want to continue on with it,” she said.

When Lil Man died, his family tried to console her with the standard remarks: “It’s going to be OK,” and “God only takes you through things to make you stronger.”

But the words, just like the investigation into her husband’s death, seemed little more than weak and cursory.

“Everyone tried to talk to me and make sense of the situation,” Tamika said. “But to this day I still don’t understand the situation – I can’t understand it – because my best friend was taken away from me.”

Bryant One Stop no longer exists. Tamika Bryant had to give it up because of difficulties balancing the restaurant with her work as a corrections officer, a job she was forced to keep after her husband was killed.

A run-down food stop with a hand-drawn sign that says “Gyros, Fish & Chicken” has replaced the establishment where Bryant used to make his living. The owner is an Arab man who seems oblivious to the fate of the former manager.

“The guy who used to own this place gave it up some months back, and I bought it from the landlord about a month and a half ago,” he said.

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