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Cocoa woman breaks silence on daughter's death

Equaller Bradford opens up about ordeal that put her in hospital for 6 months

COCOA, Fla. – More than two years after her daughter was killed, and she, herself, was shot 14 times, a Cocoa grandmother is opening up about the ordeal that put her in the hospital for six months.

On Jan. 21, 2013, Equaller Bradford's world was turned upside down. As she was setting up for her granddaughter's seventh birthday with children all around, she said a man stormed into her apartment and started shooting.

"The guy came in," said Bradford. "He had on a mask, gloves, and he had a gun. I don't remember anything else."

It happened at the Longwood apartment complex off Clearlake Road, and the shooter still hasn't been caught.

When police arrived they found the 58-year-old grandmother with 14 gunshot wounds, but miraculously still alive. Her daughter, Lydia, however, didn't make it.

"My oldest granddaughter, her mother died on her birthday," said Bradford. "That's wrong."

After six months in the hospital and losing an eye, Bradford was released.

Her attorney, Christopher Marlowe, said doctors call her survival nothing short of a medical miracle.

"The doctors have told us what we already know, which is you don't get shot 14 times, have all the major organ damage that she has, lose an eye, and survive. It just doesn't happen," said Marlowe.

Since the shooting, the apartment complex agreed to pay the family of Lydia Bradford $2.85 million after a civil case was brought by Marlowe's law firm.

Marlowe said after countless complaints tenants about violence, drug activity and prostitution, there was nothing done to enhance security on the property.

"All throughout the state of Florida, I have never seen a property that was so indifferent to crime as Longwood Apartments was," said Marlowe. "The subject didn't even come up."

While the settlement will help with raising her three granddaughters, as well as her expensive hospital costs, Bradford said it still won't bring back her daughter.

"My grand babies don't have their mom, and I don't have my daughter," she said.

Cocoa police said they have exhausted all of their leads in this case. If you have any information about the shooting, you're asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.


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