PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. (WSVN) — A South Florida community is reeling after, witnesses said, the owner of an auto repair shop was fatally shot outside of his own business during an altercation with a man, Friday morning.
7News cameras captured loved ones consoling each other outside of Phil and Lou’s Complete Auto Service in Pembroke Park while Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated the death of owner Filippo Antonino.
“He’s a nice man that always wanted to help everybody, would never say no, always positive,” said Micky, a friend of the victim. “It’s unbelievable that something like that would happen. It’s just unbelievable.”
Fighting back tears, Antonino’s wife later told 7News that her husband came to the United States as a young man. “My husband came to this country when he was 19 years old, not knowing one word of the English language,” said Anna Antonino. “Because he was working very hard, he became a decent, proper citizen of this country, and today he got killed because he was defending an elderly person.”
According to witnesses, an elderly man wearing a University of Miami shirt was mowing the grass next to the repair shop when the subject walked up to him and began harassing him. Antonino saw the exchange and tried to help.
Ben Hue, an employee at Antonino’s business, said the situation quickly spiraled out of control. “He told the guy to leave the old man alone. The guy got mad at him and shot him,” he said.
Surveillance video shows Antonino and the subject arguing. Witnesses said the subject pulled out a gun, and Antonino told him to put him away. The subject then discharged the firearm, striking Antonino twice.
“Then he put the gun in his pocket, in his shirt, pulled it down and walked,” said Hue. “He walked. He didn’t flee. He walked away. He walked away like nothing happened.”
Paramedics transported Antonino to Memorial Regional Hospital. BSO later confirmed he did not survive.
“This person took my husband and he left me alone,” said Anna.
Antonino’s death has left his wife, two sons and other loved ones wondering why he was shot. “Some guy who decided to take the law in his hands and shoot somebody who was an amazing person,” said Micky.
Anna said she and her husband were happy. Friday, she said, was the worst day of her life. “He was 57 years old, and his life just disappeared, because somebody decided to take his life out of nothing,” she said.
Customers and friends continued to come to the shop all day Friday. Some who spoke to 7News described Antonino as a man with a big heart, so they were not surprised he would try to help the elderly man.
As for the man who pulled the trigger, Anna said she wants to confront him. “I just want to look into his face, and I want him to understand what he did,” she said.
The subject remains at large. Authorities said he stands about 5 feet 8 inches tall and is bald.
If you have any information on his whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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