TAMPA - Deputies are searching for a Tampa man accused of killing his girlfriend as she held their 18-month-old daughter in her arms.
Cedrick Bontray Salter tried all day Tuesday to reach SaQuanda Simon before breaking into the laundry room of her home at 5709 E. 30th Ave. at 9:15 p.m., deputies say.
Salter, 28, confronted Simon in the bedroom and shot her in the upper body, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.
Simon died at the house. She was 29.
"I just feel if I could get my hands on him. … He didn't have to kill my granddaughter," said Mae Jackson, 67, crying into her hands and wearing a "Jesus Is Lord" T-shirt. "He didn't have to do it like that. I'm full of anger, I'm hurt because he didn't have to do this to her."
Simon had just finished nursing school and was working at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and a South Tampa nursing home.
"She was a nice, kind-hearted person," her aunt Deborah Jackson said this morning.
The toddler and her twin brother were not injured, Carter said. Simon's two other daughters, ages 10 and 7, as well as other family members were home during the shooting but were not injured.
Salter fled the scene.
Jackson said she arrived at the house shortly after the shooting. A certified nursing assistant, she tried to help perform CPR on her niece, who still had a pulse.
The 10-year-old is taking the death very hard, Jackson said. The other children don't understand much of what is happening. They are being cared for by their grandmother for now.
Simon's husband, Roger L. Simon, died in May 2003. He was 23. According to her family, he had sickle cell anemia.
Deputies say Salter, a disc jockey, was charged in March with battery and false imprisonment involving Simon. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges and a disposition in the case had been set for Thursday.
In June 2004, he was arrested on a drug charge, telling Tampa police he was a small-time crack dealer who had been selling for about two months, a report states.
Salter was convicted of obstructing or opposing an officer without violence, records show. He also pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, although adjudication was withheld.
Simon's family wants Salter caught.
"The only thing we want is a little peace and justice for now," Deborah Jackson said. "Please help us find him. I feel like if I could see him today, I could kill him myself."
"I just pray that they find him," Mae Jackson said.
Anyone with information on Salter's whereabouts should call the sheriff's office at (813) 2... or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477.