Father of five shot in drive-by killing in Bradenton; police suspect shooting was random

BRADENTON, Fla. - Maria Salinas can't stop thinking about how things were supposed to be. How her husband was planning to take their five kids Christmas tree shopping Sunday morning. Or how he would see their oldest daughter graduate high school next year.

Instead, she's making plans for his funeral.

"He was a great father, husband," Salinas said, her voice quivering. "This was just a senseless crime. He didn't deserve it."

31-year-old Rene Salinas was shot to death in his car while he waited at a stop sign around 3 a.m. at the intersection of 27th St. and 13th Ave. in Bradenton. Police are searching for the drive-by shooter.

"They took my brother's life," said Richard Salinas, who said he'll do his best to help take care of the five children that Rene left behind.  "He won't be there for his kids," ages 10 to 17, Salinas said, wiping away tears.

Sandra Marines, a neighbor with children of her own, said the whole situation is frightening. She's concerned that the shooting seemed to be random.

"It's kind of scary," she said. "Me with my two kids driving back here and thinking about somebody could just drive up here and do the same thing."

Police said they have no reason to believe Salinas was a specific target. The family has raised $9,000 in reward money for anyone who comes forward with information leading to an arrest.

"I heard he got shot in the head," said Ismael Marinas, who found out about his father's death soon after the shooting.  "I really hope they get what they deserve."

Maria Salinas is picturing what today would be like if her husband was still alive.

"I still feel like he's going to pull up with some grocery bags or stuff for the kids," she said.

"I'm going to walk in the room and he's just going to be laying there and everything is going to be fine and it's not," she said.  "It's not."

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