Family speaks out after loved one's death
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (WSVN) -- The family of a business owner who was shot and killed in a robbery is asking for the community's help in finding those responsible.
The shooting death of Errol Peart has left a family as well as a community in mourning, and the incident that took is life was an all too familiar thing at Peart's place of business.
Peart's corner car wash is an institution in Miami Gardens, but on Sunday afternoon it was a crime scene.
Peart's son and widow said stickups were something that happened at least once a year at the business. "Every single year, from November to December, every year, that's his busiest month from now back to spring," said a tearful Dawn Barrett, the victim's wife, "and every single year, this time, he got held up. Every year, and he escaped each time. I just didn't know it was going to happen this time, dear God. I didn't know it was going to happen this time."
Miami Gardens Police said, this time, the man behind the landmark business jumped in when two young men tried to rob one of his patrons. They shot Peart dead in his own parking lot and took off running.
Last year, the family said, Peart felt so threatened, he actually bought a handgun, something he said he hated having to do. However, he feared for his life. "He tried to stop somebody from doing wrong," said a woman who knew him, "and somebody killed him."
Rescuers tried to give Peart CPR, but he was already gone. "I can't believe it," said Tamika Smith. "I left from work coz I could not believe it."
Peart was found dead in the middle of the community people said he kept alive. "That's how he was," said Smith. "He employed people that were having a hard time with employment, he employed them."
"He was always there to help you," said Lester Huggins. "If you had a criminal past, he was there for you."
The crowd kept back by crime scene tape kept growing as word spread that the man called Kudi had been shot dead in broad daylight. "Everyone's out here," said Miguel Brown. "We just can't believe what happened. We just had to come over. We were just here yesterday getting our cars washed."
Friends said Peart was an international cricket player before he came to the United States from Jamaica. They also said his father, Dean is a high ranking minister in the Jamaican government. "He was one of a kind. Like no one else," said Peart's brother.
Even police officers and detectives investigating the well-loved businessman's murder knew him before he was a victim. They too trusted him. "I don't know if it's just him," said Miami Gardens Police Captain Ralph Suarez, "because of the person he was, but he's like a landmark."
Now they need everyone in the community to help them solve the shooting death of Errol Peart, someone so well-loved. "I'm sure somebody saw what happened today," said Suarez. "I'm sure somebody was here, and if they left they might have seen something."
The offenders, who were believed to be teenagers, might have fled on a four-door, gray Nissan. If you have any information on the two men involved, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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