Disgruntled customer kills auto shop owner in deadly shootout

LARGO, FL – A deadly shootout unfolded at a Florida auto repair shop when a disgruntled customer opened fire on the owner. The customer was still upset over a car repair from two years prior. The incident resulted in two fatalities, including the suspect, according to local law enforcement.

The Largo Police Department responded to an active shooter call at Stout’s Automotive around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Witnesses reported a flurry of police activity, with squad cars rushing to the scene and officers quickly moving towards the building. Upon arrival, officers discovered two individuals with gunshot wounds in the office area of the shop. Both victims were transported to local hospitals, but unfortunately succumbed to their injuries.

The owner of Stout’s Automotive, Jodie Stout, was identified as one of the victims. Stout was well-known in the community, with many describing him as a good, honest man who believed in family values. His wife and son both worked with him at the shop.

The suspect was identified as 78-year-old Eugene Becker, a former customer of Stout’s Automotive. According to police, Becker drove a rental car to the shop and asked to speak with Stout. After confirming Stout’s identity, Becker produced a firearm and shot at Stout, who returned fire.

Becker had previously sought service at Stout’s Automotive in 2021 and was reportedly unhappy with the service he received, feeling he had been overcharged. Becker’s family told investigators that he had been somewhat depressed and extremely frustrated since a car accident in 2023 that resulted in his hospitalization and the total loss of his vehicle.

Authorities believe that Becker’s dissatisfaction with the 2021 service led him to target Stout in this fatal incident.