When Wathson Adelson’s family captured video of him in a hospital bed on Friday, they had no idea it was one of the last times they would see him alive.
But weeks after an incident of road rage led to him being stabbed in the head with an ice pick, the 20-year-old’s family says he died on Sunday morning.
“This is a young man who had a plan for his life and now that plan is ruined over nothing,” family friend Spencer Scott says.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Adelson and another man were each driving southbound on Manhattan Avenue near Waters Avenue on November 21. Investigators say the other man, Al Polanco, cut Adelson off in traffic, and then Adelson drove across the center line in front of the other car and slammed on the brakes. A fight eventually broke out and Polanco allegedly stabbed Adelson with the ice pick.
“I couldn’t conceive it because Wathson’s not an aggressive young man,” Scott says. “Wathson sought to see after your needs before his own needs.”
On Sunday, dozens of friends and family members gathered around Adelson’s house to mourn his death and to remember him as a big part of his church and as a former offensive lineman at Middleton High School.
Adelson was attending college in North Carolina and had recently come home to take care of his 2-month-old son. His family and church family plan to step in and raise the boy. But they think the truth about what happened to Adelson that day has still not been revealed. They’re urging anyone who was in the area of Manhattan Avenue and Waters Avenue that day to come forward.
“Somebody saw something, but they’re sitting and saying nothing. By doing that, they’re letting a young man’s memory go wasted,” Scott says. “This is surreal to us because this can’t be his end.”
At this point, no one’s been arrested. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is looking into whether the other man may have acted in self-defense, but friends question that theory.
“[Wathson] had nothing in his hands that he could hurt this man with, so at no point did he pose a threat,” family friend Millie Mojica says. “For him to feel that he had to strike him the way he did, to pull out this sharp piece of metal and just keep on pushing, to me it’s just not normal.”
Late Sunday evening Larry McKinnon, a spokesperson with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office said, “The investigation is still ongoing and once completed the case will be turned over to the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney Office for review.”