A man who opened fire in a Largo auto shop on Wednesday was a disgruntled customer who targeted the shop owner, who returned fire and fatally shot the suspect but later died, police said.
Eugene Frank Becker, 78, shot 52-year-old Jodie Stout at Stout’s Automotive, according to an update released Thursday by the Largo Police Department.
Both men were pronounced dead at local hospitals.
In a news release, police identified both men and provided more details on the shooting.
Police received multiple 911 calls about 11:26 a.m. reporting an active shooter at the shop at 1801 S Belcher Road. Officers arrived minutes later and found two men with gunshot wounds.
Detectives learned that Becker arrived at the shop in a rental car, went inside to the front desk and asked for the owner. When he confirmed he was speaking with Stout, Becker pulled a gun and fired in Stout’s direction, police said.
Stout retrieved his own gun and opened fire, and both men were hit during the exchange of gunfire, according to police.
A family member told investigators that Becker had visited Stout’s Automotive in 2021, was unhappy with service and believed he’d been overcharged. On Sept. 18, Becker was involved in a crash in Pinellas Park that totaled his vehicle and resulted in his hospitalization, police said.
“A family member indicated that Becker has been somewhat depressed and extremely frustrated since the date of the recent accident,” the news release said . “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.”
Stout’s son, Masson Stout, told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that he was still processing what happened and wasn’t ready to comment.
Times staffer Jack Prator contributed to this report.