Auto Shop Owner, Former Customer Both Die After Exchanging Gunfire


The owner of a Florida auto repair shop and a former customer both died after the customer shot at the owner, who then shot back, the Largo, FL, Police Department said in a Facebook post.

Police said they responded to Stout's Automotive, at 1801 S Belcher Road in Largo, at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 27 after receiving multiple 911 calls about an active shooter. They found two men with gunshot wounds in the shop's office. Both were transported to local hospitals, where they were later pronounced dead.

Investigators learned the former customer, Eugene Becker, 78, arrived at the shop in a rental car. Becker approached the front desk and asked for the owner, Jodie Stout, 52, by name. Upon confirming he was speaking with Stout, Becker produced a gun and shot it at Stout. Stout got his own gun and returned fire at Becker. The two exchanged multiple rounds, both receiving life-threatening injuries.

A relative of Becker's told detectives Becker had visited Stout's Automotive in 2021 for service to the vehicle he owned at the time. He was displeased with the service and may have felt as though he was overcharged. 

On Sept. 18, 2023, Becker was involved in a crash in Pinellas Park. Becker was hospitalized and his current vehicle declared a total loss. A relative said Becker had been somewhat depressed and extremely frustrated since the recent accident. 

Based on the totality of the circumstances, police said it appears as though Becker came to Stout's Automotive on Sept. 27 with the intent to shoot Stout in retaliation for the perceived wrong from 2021.

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