A June 26 news release from the Tampa Police Department about a murder arrest was short on detail.
A man in a Jeep had hit another man in Tampa’s Bayshore Beautiful neighborhood on June 13. The man who was hit died a week later.
The driver, Jordan Aronson, 21, had been arrested, the news release stated.
The release omitted many details, including the relationship between the suspect and the victim. One odd thing stuck out — the man who was hit had thrown a three-ring binder at the Jeep moments before he was struck.
Through police documents and interviews, the Tampa Bay Times has learned the man who was killed was Scott Grebler, 59, founding treasurer of well-known Tampa charity 13 Ugly Men.
Aronson is his nephew — and a Florida baseball TikTok creator with more than 55,000 followers.
The incident has left those who knew Grebler with questions. They don’t know what could have led to the death of a man known for offering guests cups of tea, tipping generously at restaurants and buying all the cookies from a Starbucks each year around Christmas to hand out to kids.
“He showed a lot of love and care,” Grebler’s friend James Lascano said. “Whatever he could do to better society, that’s what he did. He wanted to leave a positive imprint behind, and he left it with me and I believe a lot of other people.”
A shattered mug
Lascano was driving his daughters to an Orlando vacation on June 13 when a call made him turn around. He drove to Grebler’s home on West Harbor View Avenue. The two friends had met years before through 13 Ugly Men, a Tampa nonprofit whose members “party with a purpose” by organizing large community events for charity.
When he arrived, Tampa police warned Lascano to keep his distance — the property was a crime scene.
A black three-ring binder lay on the ground, papers were strewn about the street, pieces of shattered ceramic glass littered the driveway and blood pooled at the base of a palm tree, according to police reports
The ceramic was one of the mugs Grebler used to offer guests tea. The blood was Grebler’s.
Police documents show that Grebler and Aronson got into an argument around 7 a.m. The argument ended when Aronson hit Grebler with a Jeep, police say.
As his uncle lay injured and unresponsive, police say, Aronson drove away and called 911. According to an arrest affidavit, Aronson told a dispatcher Grebler was in need of medical attention. Aronson admitted on the 911 call to striking Grebler with the vehicle, saying Grebler “tried to f--king attack” him.
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A second 911 call came from a witness who was walking his dog when he saw a black Jeep Wrangler reverse quickly out of a driveway, speed forward back into it, then reverse away at a normal speed, according to a search warrant.
The driver idled for about 30 seconds before driving off. The witness told police he heard two loud screams come from inside the Jeep.
The witness could not see the driver’s face due to tinted windows — but the Miami Heat license plate, large aftermarket tires with black rims and a lift kit made the vehicle easily distinguishable. The Jeep is registered under the name of Neal Aronson — Jordan Aronson’s father and Grebler’s brother-in-law.
Reached by phone, Neal Aronson, architect and owner of Aronson Estates Development, declined to comment.
The witness told police he found business checks on the ground, then found Grebler face down next to the driveway bleeding from the head and making snoring sounds. Others gathered to help, running into Grebler’s home for paper towels to curb his bleeding.
Tampa Fire Rescue took Grebler to the hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator.
Grebler died a week later on June 21 at Tampa General Hospital, an affidavit states, of injuries to his brain and skull from “being struck intentionally by the suspect’s Jeep.”
Two of the 13 Ugly Men
Lascano says Grebler was a jovial foodie who loved to try new restaurants and leave outrageously big tips for his servers. He said he couldn’t imagine Grebler getting hostile with anyone, let alone family.
Grebler worked as an entrepreneur and owned multiple Massage Envy franchises. With 13 Ugly Men, Lascano said Grebler advised new members in their charitable endeavors and professional and personal lives.
“He was not only a good friend, but at times a mentor,” Lascano said.
Lascano said everyone he introduced Grebler to adored him — especially Lescano’s two young daughters.
Lascano enjoyed having ideological debates with Grebler because of his ability to graciously disagree.
“At times we disagreed on certain things but we would respectfully talk to each other,” Lascano said. “We would laugh and sit down and say ‘You know what, if people were able to do this, the world would get along much better.’”
The nephew’s arrest
Police arrested Aronson in Fort Lauderdale on June 23 and charged him with second-degree murder. Tampa police first interviewed Aronson the day of the incident.
Three minutes after police arrived and 18 minutes after he called 911, Aronson returned to the scene.
Aronson told police he had been staying with his uncle for several days. Aronson, a self-proclaimed “spiritual ball player giving u the inside scoop,” posted on his TikTok account about training at the Florida Baseball ARMory in Lakeland the day before the incident.
The Aronson family lives in Broward County and Aronson just finished his freshman year as a baseball player at Lynn University in Boca Raton. His uncle’s Tampa home is much closer to the Lakeland training facility.
On the morning of the incident, an argument broke out between the two when Grebler accused Aronson of stealing money, Aronson told police. According to the affidavit, Aronson said he tried to avoid a fight by driving away. He said he parked the Jeep with the wheels turned sideways and, in his haste to leave, forgot to straighten them before backing up. He said he pulled back into the driveway to straighten out his wheels, accidentally striking Grebler.
He did not get out to check on his uncle, he told police.
Surveillance footage obtained by police confirmed parts of Aronson’s story, but refuted others, reports state.
According to an affidavit, video shows Grebler throwing and shattering a mug, then placing the shards under the Jeep’s tires in an apparent attempt to stop Aronson from leaving. It also shows Grebler took Aronson’s bag out of the Jeep and followed Aronson around the vehicle.
However, the footage reveals the Jeep’s tires were not turned as Aronson claimed, reports state.
In the video, Aronson backed the Jeep into the road while Grebler ran toward it and threw a three-ring binder filled with paperwork. Aronson accelerated forward into the driveway, hitting Grebler. Grebler fell to the side of the Jeep, but Aronson turned and continued to drive at him. The Jeep eventually stopped, appearing to hit a palm tree, and Grebler was left on the ground as Aronson drove off, reports indicate.
After his arrest, Aronson was released on $15,000 bail. He has pleaded not guilty.
Allison Miller, a private defense attorney who ran as the Democratic candidate for Pinellas-Pasco state attorney in 2022, is representing Aronson. Craig Whisenhunt, a partner at her firm, Ripley Whisenhunt, said their attorneys do not comment on open cases.
A search for justice
Grebler’s ex-wife, Caroll Delo, said members of 13 Ugly Men, including Lascano, reached out to her after they heard Grebler was injured. Delo visited Grebler in the hospital, where she said Aronson’s parents and brother were waiting for updates on his condition.
Delo said she never asked the Aronson family what happened nor did they mention it.
The couple remained friends after they divorced 13 years ago, but Delo said, Grebler became more reserved in recent years after a Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Delo said she struggles to imagine the man she spent 11 years with resorting to violence — especially against the nephew she says he spoke of proudly.
“He’s not an angry man,” Delo said. “He’s never been a violent man.”
She said it is important to her Grebler gets justice.
“Not that I want bad things to happen to the kid, he made a horrible decision,” Delo said. “I just hope things don’t fall through the cracks ... because somebody died, and I don’t want that to go totally forgotten.”