Fired Employee Kills Two, Injures Three at Car Rental Office
MIAMI (AP) _ A man who was fired from his car washing job at a rental car company shot and killed two company managers as dozens of customers scrambled for cover, authorities said.
A taxi driver who drove the alleged gunman to the Alamo Rent-a-Car office near Miami International Airport said the man was angry about being fired and cursed his former bosses before getting out of the cab without paying and pulling a gun from a bag.
″I was ready to ask him about the fare,″ Nadeem Mohd told Miami television station WTVJ. ″I was lucky I didn’t tell him, otherwise he would have killed me first.″
Witnesses said the man came into the office, then chased his victims to the parking lot and shot them.
About 50 to 75 customers and employees scattered in panic when the shots rang out, police spokesman Don Blocker said. At least three were slightly hurt trying to climb fences or ducking for cover.
″We heard some gunfire and somebody said, ‘Hey that’s a pop gun going off,’ ″ said Larry Bergman, 38, visiting Miami from Coram, N.Y. ″Then there were people running in the parking lot and people running around in general panic.″
A Metro-Dade police officer exchanged gunfire with the suspect, Blocker said.
Two Alamo employees subdued him after he ran out of bullets, witnesses said. At least a dozen bullet casings lay on the pavement where the shootout occurred.
The alleged gunman, Lazaro Martinez, in his late 20s, remained in police custody early today. He had worked as a car washer for about five years before being fired Wednesday, Alamo employee Robert Lopez said.
Police identified the dead as Ciro Sigler, 31, and Chester Scheel, 48. Alamo confirmed they were managers.
Germain Racine, Alamo’s airport shuttle van driver, said Martinez threatened to ″come back″ after he was fired.
The Fort Lauderdale-based chain issued a statement calling the shootings ″an isolated and unavoidable tragedy.″
″We’ve been in business for 16 years and have not experienced an incident like this,″ the company said. ″We will be doing what we can to comfort the families involved.″