Titusville shooting spree survivor evicted from home

Man says shooting left him unable to work, can't pay rent

Headline Goes Here Florida Today

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - The lone survivor of a September shooting in a Titusville neighborhood that left two other men dead says he and his family are being evicted from their home on Monday.

Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports Bruce Blake said benefits such as disability and Social Security have been bogged down in red tape since the Sept. 3 shooting and he hasn't been able to pay rent.

Blake, 49, said he has received a total of $183 in benefits. Records show that Blake has been involved in eviction proceedings five times since 2007.

Blake worked full time running heavy machinery and as a welder before the shooting, but says he needs to be cleared by a doctor and get second opinion before he can return to work. He hopes that will be soon.

"I don't know why you have to have a second opinion with 17 bullet holes in me," he told Florida Today. "The bullet in my back hurts, the bullet in my calf hurts. … But I'd be able to run a crane."

Bruce and Keri Blake – who are raising two daughters – will return to the home in the 1900 block of Smith Drive this morning to get the rest of their belongings. Bruce Blake said they have to be out by 9 a.m. and will stay with family in the Titusville area.

He said though it has been "hard as hell" on his family since the shooting, there is one good thing coming from the eviction:

"Every time I go in and out the door, I don't have to walk right past where me and Roger got shot," he said.

Early Sept. 3, on the Labor Day holiday, Titusville police said neighbor William T. Woodward opened fire on Blake, Gary Lee Hembree, 39, and Roger Picior, 44.

Hembree and Picior died of their injuries, and Woodward was arrested on charges of murder.

Woodward's family told FLORIDA TODAY he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the military, and snapped as the result of ongoing disputes with the neighbors who were wounded. Titusville police said Hembree was "heckling" Woodward immediately prior to the shooting.

Woodward is charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. He is being held in Brevard County jail and his case is set for a status hearing in March.

Blake said the family has found a place to live but can't get there without money to move in.

"We do have a donation fund set up at TD Bank, the Blake Family Fund," he said.

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