Monday, November 4, 2013

River search sobering contrast to Riverwalk event

The helicopter circled high over the Manatee River, rotating around the DeSoto Bridge and just west of it.
A boat with its lights flashing trolled the same area beneath the chopper.
It was a grim ritual on a beautiful Sunday afternoon as law enforcement maintained its search for 51-year-old  Gary Robinson, who family members said jumped from the bridge around noon Saturday.
It was a sobering scene for the thousands of people who flocked to Taste of Manatee on the Riverwalk.
People ate ice cream along the railing, watching the quest for the missing man, then turning back to the sprawling affair for more fun and frolic.

Dance teams of little girls sang and performed at the bandshell before an appreciative crowd, while not far from there, Robinson's relatives kept a vigil underneath the DeSoto Bridge.
A jarring juxtaposition, if there ever was one.
More than a day later there was still no sign of the Bradenton man, described as someone who was fun, smiled a lot and had a knack for making people laugh.
They said he was going to get married soon, too.
Which makes you wonder what drove him to jump from the DeSoto Bridge.
Robinson had served more than half his life in jail, but had been a free man for the last two years.
Were not the bad times behind him?
Authorities finally found Robinson's corpse around nightfall.
But that was a few hours off when we left Taste of Manatee to go home.
The helicopter was still circling overhead.
The boat with it lights flashing stayed on its mission. 

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