OAKLAND PARK, Fla. (WSVN) — The owner of a gas station remains hospitalized as authorities continue looking for a masked gunman who shot him during a robbery attempt Sunday.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the incident, which took place just before 8 p.m. Sunday at the Valero gas station located at 1251 N.E. 25th St. in Oakland Park.
Officials said the suspect entered the station’s convenience store with the intention to rob the business. He then opened fire on the station’s 62-year-old owner Ubaldo Tello and took off. Investigators are still piecing together the chain of events.
“My mom said she just froze. She didn’t know what to do,” Julio Tello, the victim’s son said, “so the money fell, so the guy was, I guess, screaming like, ‘Pick up the money’, or whatever he was saying. Then he smacked my dad with a gun.”
The owner tried to protect his wife, Dora, and began to fight with the shooter. That is when shots were fired, and the owner was hit in the face. “The bullet hit this side,” said the son pointing to his right clavicle, “and it kind of hit this bone and bounced through his face.”
“He tried to fight him,” Tello said. “That’s when he shot, then he just ran off with no money or nothing. He left my dad here, bloody and just left. He broke his jaw when he fell.”
The victim was transported to Broward Health Medical Center where he is listed in serious condition.
Ana Rodriguez knows the family and was shocked to hear what had occurred. “He’s a very hardworking man,” said Rodriguez. “He’s been struggling to lift this business up for a long time. He’s a family man. This is a family-operated business.”
Earlier during the day, a van circled the gas station several times. A man, who police are now calling a person of interest, walked into the store and began to just walk around the store and look at security cameras before leaving the store.
Deputies continue searching the area for the suspect and are asking for the public’s help.
The victim is recovering, and doctors said, he will require surgery Tuesday morning to save the owner’s eye. “It’s sad,” said customer Joseph Pasternak. “It’s sad what the world is coming to. People are desperate,” said Ryan Sullivan, a customer.
If you have any information on this crime, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.