What went down?
- Police said a 28-year-old man armed with a handgun and “multiple magazines on his person” wandered to an auto repair shop in Rockledge, Florida, the day after Thanksgiving and began firing in the parking lot, Florida Today reported.
- The gunman killed one shop employee and paralyzed another, the paper said.
- But two other Schlenker Automotive employees — both concealed weapons permit holders — fought back with their own guns, Rockledge Police Chief Joseph La Sata told Florida Today.
- Police said the homicide suspect — Robert Lorenzo Bailey Jr. — was shot twice and in critical condition at a Melbourne hospital, the paper reported.
What did police say about the employees who fought back?
- “If not for the brave, quick thinking of the employees at Schlenker, this could have been a lot worse,” La Sata told Florida Today. “Mr. Bailey had multiple magazines on his person. He was intent on doing harm. The employees stepped up.”
Who were the gunman’s victims?
- Police said longtime Schlenker employee Roger Lee Smith, 50, was fatally shot by the suspect after stepping into the parking lot when he heard the shot that paralyzed his 25-year-old co-worker, the paper reported.
- The paralyzed employee’s name was not released Saturday morning, Florida Today said.
What did those who knew the fatally shot victim say?
- “He would do anything … anything for anybody. It hurts that somebody would hurt him,” Bnickcole Smith, the victim’s 27-year-old niece, told Florida Today in a follow-up report. “That man took from us a longtime husband, a father figure and a grandfather. He loved being with his family and was such a fun, outgoing person. Personally, it’s just destroyed me.”
- “In this difficult time of mourning the loss of Roger and the severe injuries that (our other employee) has sustained, we would like to thank all of the community for the overwhelming support and prayers we have received,” Lou Schlenker, owner of the shop, said in a statement to the paper Sunday evening. “We know there will be a long healing process ahead of us but we want to reassure everyone that this is an organization full of dedicated, courageous, and heroic individuals serving this community.”
What do we know about the suspect?
- Detectives are trying to learn the motive for the shooting, Florida Today said, adding that La Sata noted there was no connection between Bailey and the auto repair shop.
- Brevard County Public School officials told the paper Bailey was employed with the district since 2014, working at Lewis Carroll Elementary on Merritt Island as a part-time custodian.
- Bailey remains on the payroll, district spokeswoman Jennifer Wolfinger told Florida Today, which added that officials are reviewing his employment records.
- Bailey also is known to friends as a bouncer and a regular on the Cocoa Village pub scene, the paper added.
- The manager at the Dog and Bone British Pub told Florida Today that Bailey seemed to be behaving differently lately, adding that he was fired from his job at the pub after confronting a patron.
- Another manager suggested Bailey see a doctor after Bailey said he believed the patron had a gun and was trying to kill him, the paper reported.
- “You could tell he had gone through some type of stress or disorder. He kept to himself,” 26-year-old Paul Lyal, who learned about the shooting late Sunday, told Florida Today.
- Lyal told the paper he met Bailey at the Dog and Bone several years ago: “Sometimes he would be quiet, other times out laughing with everyone. He would even do karaoke or just go upstairs and dance for hours. I’m just shocked like everyone else.”
(H/T: Bearing Arms)