Community pays tribute to one of its own
They came from Cape Coral and Fort Myers, lining Skyline Boulevard to stand and wait. Most had never met Jeremy Charles Taylor; some admitted that they had only recently learned of his name.
They knew he rode a motorcycle – he was riding one when he was fatally shot on June 5.
They did not know that he loved fresh water fishing and traveling. They did not know that he had spent hours restoring a 1968 Austin Healey Sprite, which he had nearly completed before his tragic death.
Yet, they all felt a sense of duty – to pay their respects to a man they would never meet, to show support for his family and friends – so they waited on Thursday as his funeral procession passed by.
“With all the stuff going on in the area and Florida, it was the right thing to do,” Cape resident Eric Talty said, explaining why he took part in the public gathering at Skyline and Veterans Parkway.
“I just wanted to come out and show support,” he said.
Taylor, 54, of the Cape, was shot and killed in the 2600 block of Skyline by Christopher Michael Moran, 31, of 901 S.E. Eighth Terrace, Apt. 6. Moran left the scene and went to the Circle K, at 1603 W. Cape Coral Parkway, where he fatally shot a store employee, Sean Strickland, 26, of the Cape.
A customer, Cape resident Richard Huwiler, 61, sustained gunshot wounds but survived.
Minutes later, police located Moran at Skyline and Cape Coral Parkway, eventually stopping his vehicle in the 5100 block of Skyline. Officials stated that Moran was “still armed and violently resisting.” He was shot by police and pronounced dead at the scene.
Two passengers in his vehicle – Maria Abigail Rodriguez, 32, and Christopher Moran Jr., 1, both also of 901 S.E. Eighth Terrace, Apt. 6 – each sustained injuries and were transported to a local hospital.
Police reported on Thursday that both had been discharged and were in good condition.
The police-escorted funeral procession for Taylor began at his southwest Cape home, crossed the intersection where he was fatally shot and then traveled to the Mullins Memorial Funeral Home, where a 1 p.m. funeral service was scheduled. Motorcycles and classic vehicles made up the procession.
More than 50 people gathered along Skyline to watch it go by.
“This was a man who was out innocently enjoying his motorcycle and some idiot decided to take his life,” Moe Moser, president of the Southwest Chapter of ABATE of Florida, said on Thursday.
ABATE, or American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, is a motorcycle rights and safety organization. While neither he nor any of his members knew Taylor, several from the local chapter decided to come out.
“Just to provide a little bit of comfort to the family,” Moser said. “That’s why I’m here.”
Catherine Coleman was in attendance with her son, Stanton Kuenzi, 17. Coleman explained that Taylor’s son, Shaun, coaches Stanton’s special needs soccer team. They had never met Taylor.
“It’s a sad thing for Cape Coral, and you don’t expect it,” she said of the recent shootings. “Coach Shaun has given so much to our kids – there’s nothing we can do, except support him.”
Vicki Townes, who lives off of Skyline, explained that she and her family could hear the helicopters and sirens as the tragedy unfolded. She added that they instantly “knew something was going on.”
“It was scary,” Townes, who is a motorcyclist herself, said.
With family and friends who also ride, she knew that she wanted to take part.
“It’s to show my respect,” Townes said.
As of Thursday, police were continuing to investigate the shootings. Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Children and Families has opened a child protection investigation.
“The child remains in our custody and is in the care of a foster family,” Natalie Harrell, SunCoast Region communications director for DCF, said. “An investigation typically closes in 90 days.”
In cases where the investigation opens to case management – as part of foster care – it may close within that 90-day timeframe, but the case would still be open under case management, she explained. The case would then reviewed by a judge under specific timeframes and guidelines set by the judge.
Harrell previously confirmed that DCF had prior contact with Moran’s family and that a child protection investigation was opened in 2015. The findings, however, cannot be disclosed.
According to officials, child protection investigations, including allegations, details and reports, are confidential by law and cannot be disclosed, unless the child dies as a result of abuse or neglect.
Rodriguez, nor any family members, could be reached for comment Thursday.
According to his obituary, Taylor was born in Birmingham, England. He moved his family to the Cape in 2001. He was a member of the Southwest Florida British Car Club and the British American Club.
“Jeremy was known to always help those who needed him, no matter what it was,” it stated. “His laugh was contagious and his smile could make any situation better … He was loved by all that knew him.”
“He will be remembered by the relationships we all shared with him, for his individuality, for his lifting spirit, and for the unconditional love and dedication that he gave to family and friends,” it continued.
Taylor is survived by his wife of 32 years, Rosemary Taylor of the Cape; children, Louise (Martyn) Wheatley of Measham, England, and Shaun Taylor of the Cape; grandson, George Philip Wheatley of Measham; mother, Irene Florence Taylor of England; extended family members; and Rolo the dog.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for his family at: www.gofundme.com/29fhfuc.
Memorial contributions can be made to 3720 S.W. 11th Place, Cape Coral, FL 33914.
To sign his electronic guestbook, visit: www.mullinsmemorial.com/obituaries/jeremy-c-taylor/686.