Someone knows something: Palmetto police look for missing link in 2014 shooting

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The family of a Palmetto man killed in 2014 is making a public plea for information in the still-unsolved case of his shooting death.

Clinging tightly to a photo of her only son, Tony Thomas described the pain of losing a son - and not knowing why. 

"As a mother, this will never go away, ever," said Thomas. "My family suffered very much. Not only my family, the community, his friends." 

On March 22, 2014, her son, 27-year-old Javari Thomas and two of his friends left The Hall nightclub in Palmetto. Javare was a passenger in the car as he and his friends drove Haben Boulevard toward U.S. 41.

That's when a dark-colored truck, possibly black with a lift, pulled up and started firing shots, according to Palmetto police detectives.

"There are basically three men that enjoyed a night out and were driving home and were mistakenly identified and targeted with violence," Palmetto Chief of Police Scott Tyler said. 

Investigators said a fight had broken out just as the club was closing. Tyler believes someone involved in the fight mistook the car Javari was in and followed them. 

"We do not believe that Javari or the two people in the car with him were the targets. They were merely innocent," said Chief Tyler. 

Police have a person of interest, but the area where the shooting happened was dark and not many people were around. They need help to connect pieces of evidence to the crime. 

"There are people out in the community that maybe have knowledge of this case, that have probably talked about it, probably people who have a guilty conscience," said Chief Tyler. 

Each day, Tonya focuses on finding the person responsible. She asks those who know to have the courage to come forward. 

"This is what my son would want me to do, to live, to fight, to not give up hope knowing one day someone will come forward and say they know something about this case," she said. 

A $6,000 reward for information leading to an arrest has been offered by Crime Stoppers and members of the community. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Palmetto Police Department at 941-721-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-8477