Florida Auto Shop Owner and Angry Customer Shot Each Other to Death, Police Say

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
September 28, 2023US News
Florida Auto Shop Owner and Angry Customer Shot Each Other to Death, Police Say
A Forensic Science investigator with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office documents the scene at Stout's Auto Service in Largo, Fla., on Sept. 27, 2023. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

LARGO, Fla.—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 Mr. Becker pulled out a handgun and shot Mr. Stout, who returned fire with his own gun, striking Mr. Becker multiple times.

Both men later died at a hospital. The shooting brought dozens of police officers to the scene.

Police said in an email that evidence and witnesses indicate Mr. Becker felt he was overcharged when he brought a vehicle to Mr. Stout’s for service in 2021. He went to the shop Wednesday “with the intent to shoot the victim in retaliation for the perceived wrong.”

Authorities said Mr. Becker had recently been in a car crash that left him depressed, according to family members.

Largo is located just west of Tampa.

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