The family of a Tampa man killed last week is preparing for a January 12 candlelight vigil, but it’s also looking for more answers about the death of someone who was also a beloved son, brother and father.
According to a statement from Tampa Police officials, Edward Taylor Jr. was attacked outside of Club Envy gentlemen’s club on January 3 at approximately 3:31 a.m.. The release said that Taylor, 32, and the suspect were in the parking lot of Envy — located at 3447 Kennedy Boulevard W. — when they became involved in a dispute over missing property from inside the club. Taylor and the suspect became involved in a physical altercation and Taylor suffered upper body trauma as a result.
Officers on scene provided CPR to Taylor, a Jefferson High School grad, before he was transported to Tampa General Hospital by Tampa Fire Rescue. Taylor died as a result of his injuries. At 2:32 p.m. on January 3, Tampa Police told media that charges had yet to be filed, but that officials were aware of all the individuals involved. Interviews were conducted, and the investigation continues, according to officials.
“This remains an active investigation,” Eddy Durkin, a public information officer with TPD, told CL on January 11. “There is no updated information for release at this time beyond the most recent media alert.”
Taylor’s parents — Vanessa and Edward Taylor Sr. — told CL that they’ve hired a private investigator, who has identified a suspect as well as several witnesses. The Taylors say that Tampa homicide detectives have been unable to give the family sufficient answers about their son’s death due to the volume of cases needing police attention. They describe the detectives as “evasive.” The Taylors say that the police are refusing to give them the suspect’s name, suggesting that he may be affiliated with gang activity.
Vanessa has spoken with some of her son’s friends who witnessed the attack. Edward Jr. and the suspect did not know each other, according to Vanessa, but they did share a drink at the bar. Vanessa said that the suspect verbally threatened her son during the argument and then followed through on the threat by attacking Edward Jr. outside of the club.
The Taylors also say that detectives told the family that there is surveillance video from the night in question. Whether the video from the club or neighboring businesses is unclear.
All Edward Sr. and Vanessa want, however, is for some closure to arrive in the days after a candlelight vigil set for January 12 at 7 p.m.. The vigil will happen at the Skyway Park football fields where Edward Jr. used to play football.
Edward Jr. — who is survived by his 9-year-old daughter and her mother, plus two brothers and three sisters — had lupus, and his symptoms kept him from playing football after high school where he was part of a Jefferson Dragons team that went to the state championship game.
“We used to poke fun at him because was waking up later and later after Friday football games. We didn’t know it was the lupus was becoming a problem,” Edward Sr. told CL.
Vanessa told CL that lupus had left her son with the “hands of a 100-year-old man.”
“He couldn’t ball a fist or even grip a steering wheel, if he fell down he would need help getting up,” Edward Sr. told CL. “We made him stop driving, and we tried to make sure he always had a friend by his side to help.”
“He was proud, and he would say he didn’t want any help, but we knew he needed it,” Edward Sr. added. “He never complained, but anyone who knew him knew what he was going through.”
Vanessa and Edward Sr. will be surrounded by friends and family who watched her son and daughters play football and cheer at Skyway — located at 3901 George Rd. in Tampa — but they hope to find answers about theirson’s death sooner than later.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses, and Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the identification and arrest of the suspect in this case. Anyone with any information regarding this case and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at crimestopperstb.com or send a mobile tip using our P3 Tips mobile application, which is a free download for iPhones, iPads, and Droids.