Man fires at tow truck driver during dispute
LAUDERHILL, Fla. (WSVN) -- A dispute between a tow truck driver and four men concerning a vehicle she was removing from an apartment complex ended in gunfire and rattled nerves.
Police responded to calls of shots fired at the Palm Vista Apartments at the 2600 block of Northwest 52nd Avenue, Wednesday afternoon. According to Johnson Towing owner Blanche Duncan, she was called by the apartment complex' homeowner's association to remove an unregistered turquoise green sedan.
According to the tow truck driver, she then saw four other men on a building located on the opposite side of the parking lot. One of them screamed at Duncan to release the vehicle. "At that time, I heard someone yell from Building 8 across from us, saying, 'Drop the effin' car,'" said Duncan.
It was at this point that, according to Duncan, the man who had screamed at her pulled out a gun and fired. "It was four of them standing there, only one did the shooting," she said. "All of a sudden, I look over and ... they go, 'Boom!'"
Tony Douglas, the owner of the vehicle, said he was inside the apartment at the time of the incident, but did not hear any gunfire. He said he has no idea who may have let off the shots. "She said there were shots fired, but I didn't hear nothing, cause when I come outside, I said, 'What happened with my car?' and she was on the phone with the police," he said.
Duncan confirmed Douglas confronted her about his car. "While we were in the midst of a tow, the young man came out to retrieve his vehicle, and I told him it was a $50 drop [charge]," said Duncan. The two truck company owner said she has a contract with Palm Vista Apartments to remove vehicles.
The apartment complex' property manager said Duncan frequently removes cars from the premises. "There's a problem once cars park, which are not authorized to park in the area," said Fred. "They're not authorized, that's all."
Investigators said Douglas ran back inside the building and barricaded himself inside an apartment. Duncan said she ran to her tow truck, drove around the corner and called 911. No one was hurt.
Lauderhill Police arrived on the scene and set up a small perimeter around the tow truck. Officers scoured the area with their guns drawn but never found the alleged shooter.
The incident took place one week after All County-Towing employee David Herr was fatally gunned down while removing a car from a Lauderdale Lakes apartment complex. "It's so sad that we have to go through this just to tow a car," said Duncan.
Authorities took Duncan to the police station for questioning. By Wednesday night, there was no one related to the incident in police custody. It is unclear if police are still searching for other suspects.
If you have any information on this shooting, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)