A customer angry about his service from a Florida auto repair shop targeted and fatally shot its owner, then was also fatally shot, police say.
Eugene Frank Becker, 78, walked into Stout’s Auto in Largo on Sept. 27 and went up to the front desk to ask to speak to the owner, according to a Sept. 28 news release from the Largo Police Department.
Behind the desk was Jodie Stout, 52, who told Becker he was the owner, police said.
Becker pulled out a firearm and started shooting in Stout’s direction, police said, then Stout grabbed his own weapon and began firing back.
They both fired multiple rounds and were each hit in the office area of the shop, police said.
Both men died from their injuries, according to the release.
Becker was identified as a customer of the auto shop in 2021, police said.
He went to the shop that year and received service that he thought was inadequate, and he believed he was overcharged for the work, according to the release.
Becker did not approach Stout in the two years after the service was completed, police said.
Then, on Sept. 18, Becker was in a wreck in Pinellas Park that totaled his vehicle and put him in the hospital, according to the release.
In the days that followed, Becker became angrier, frustrated and depressed, a family member told police.
He then used a rental car to drive to the auto shop before the targeted attack, according to the release.
“Based on the totality of the circumstances, it appears as though Becker responded to Stout’s Automotive with the intent to shoot the victim in retaliation for the perceived wrong from 2021,” police said.
Largo is about 20 miles west of Tampa.