LARGO, FL – A deadly shooting at a Florida auto repair shop, which resulted in the death of two men, was reportedly instigated by a disgruntled former customer, according to local law enforcement. The incident occurred on Wednesday at Stout’s Automotive, where the former customer, 78-year-old Eugene Frank Becker, confronted the shop owner, 52-year-old Jodie Stout.
Authorities report that Becker, who had rented a car to get to the shop, initiated the confrontation over dissatisfaction with a service Stout’s Automotive had provided two years prior. Becker allegedly believed he had been overcharged for the service. The disagreement escalated when Becker drew a handgun and shot at Stout, who retaliated by firing back at Becker.
The exchange of gunfire resulted in both men sustaining severe injuries. They were rushed to a nearby hospital where they later succumbed to their injuries. The fatal incident drew a large police presence to the scene.
Earlier this month, Becker had been involved in a car accident in Pinellas Park, which led to his hospitalization and the total loss of his vehicle. According to a family member, Becker had been dealing with depression and frustration since the accident. Authorities believe that Becker visited the shop with the intention of retaliating against Stout for what he perceived as a past wrong.
This incident is one of several recent violent disputes in Florida. Earlier this month, a disagreement over a dog sale in Jacksonville led to a man fatally shooting two adults and a toddler. In DeLeon Springs, a 78-year-old man allegedly shot and killed his neighbor over a dispute about tree trimming near his property line. In another case, a former assistant attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office stabbed a man on a Tampa Bay highway following a car crash.