Cocoa police still searching for man accused of shooting at youth football coach after practice

Coach stepped in to help after suspect punched ex-girlfriend, police say

COCOA, Fla. – Two days after police said a man shot at a kids’ football coach in Cocoa — the bullet grazing the coach’s leg — officers are still trying to find him.

It was 8 p.m. Tuesday, as practice was ending, when the coach saw the suspect punching his ex-girlfriend at Stradley Park and stepped in to help, police said.

“The ex-boyfriend fired a round at the coach,” department spokesperson Yvonne Martinez said. “He retrieved a gun and there was an exchange of gunfire, and then the suspect took off.”

Police said because the publicly unidentified suspect is a convicted felon, he’ll be in trouble just for having a gun, in addition to other charges.

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Police said the coach, on the other hand, shot back in self-defense.

Neighbor Hope Schultz said hearing the violence makes her worry about the safety of her grandkids.

“You never know and I’m not going to risk, you know, the kids, no. I’d rather just stay here in my own house with the kids,” Schultz said. “They have their own little park here.”

At the same time the kids were practicing, Cocoa’s state championship high school football team was practicing, too.

The park is within walking distance of Cocoa High.

“In this particular case, it was absolutely the wrong place at the wrong time because we had a lot of people that were potentially at risk,” Martinez said. “We’re very fortunate here that nobody was seriously injured.”

As police continue searching for the suspect, stick with News 6 and for updates if an arrest is made.

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About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.