A shooting at a Florida auto shop that killed two men was triggered by a former customer's dissatisfaction with work done on his car two years ago, police said Thursday.
The Largo Police Department said Eugene Frank Becker, 78, arrived at Stout's Automotive in a rental car Wednesday and sought out business owner Jodie Stout, 52. Investigators say Becker pulled out a handgun and shot Stout, who returned fire with his own gun, striking Becker multiple times.
"The two exchanged multiple rounds of gunfire, during which time both Becker and Stout suffered life-threatening injuries," police said.
Both men later died at a hospital. The shooting brought dozens of police officers to the scene.
Police said that evidence and witnesses indicate Becker felt he was overcharged when he brought a vehicle to Stout's for service in 2021.
Earlier this month, Becker was involved in a car crash in Pinellas Park, which "resulted in a hospitalization and the total loss of his current vehicle," police said. A family member told police that Becker has been depressed and frustrated since the crash, police said, and he went to the shop Wednesday "with the intent to shoot the victim in retaliation for the perceived wrong."
Largo is located just west of Tampa.
This marks at least the third time this month in Florida that a seemingly minor dispute ended in a deadly shooting.
On Saturday night, a man in Jacksonville fatally shot two adults and a toddler during an argument over the sale of a dog, CBS affiliate WTSP reported. And earlier this month, a 78-year-old man in DeLeon Springs allegedly who was trimming trees over his property line.
In another incident last week, a former assistant attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office stabbed a man on a Tampa Bay highway after the man crashed into his car, according to CBS affiliate WTSP. The victim was taken to a local hospital with injuries authorities described as serious but not life-threatening.
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