Flood Warning issued July 21 at 9:51PM EDT expiring July 22 at 10:51AM EDT in effect for: Pasco
Through the corridors of Crown Eurocars, we weaved our way to a desk covered in flowers and cards. Its pictures and nametag looked the same, but the chair sat empty.
"We have almost 100 employees, and he touched everyone here," general manager Larry Casto said. "I came in this morning and one of the employees was actually in his office, in his chair, holding his picture."
Fighting back tears, Casto described his long-time employee and friend Floyd Lassiter.
The 53-year-old auto parts manager was a retired U.S. Army master sergeant, a father, a husband and a brother. Everyone ABC Action News interviewed about Lassiter called him one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
"It's hard. It's hard for everybody," said Walt Lassiter Sr., the victim's older brother.
Lakesha McDaniels lives just a few homes down from where police say Lassiter lost his life defending his cars, especially the one his boss says he was planning to give to his teenage daughter.
"I felt like my heart – it just really did a bottom leap," McDaniels said. "I don't really know how to describe it other than just unreal and devastating."
Police gave the following timeline they say led up to his death:
On Thursday, police say someone broke into Lassiter's St. Pete home on 25th Street South and stole his keys. On Friday, Casto says Lassiter used a rare vacation day to repair his broken window, re-key his car, and make sure his family was safe. Then early Saturday morning, police believe the two wanna-be car thieves returned and a fight broke out, ending with Lassiter getting shot multiple times in the torso.
He died at Bayfront Medical Center a short time later.
Police are still searching for the suspects.
"It may take several days, perhaps several weeks, but ultimately we do feel confident that we'll get to the bottom of this," said St. Petersburg Police spokesman Mike Puetz.
This week, Crown Eurocars is planning to contact the lead detective on the case to establish a monetary reward. The company has also contracted with a lawn company to help Lassiter's family and their neighbors maintain their yards.
They also plan to reach out to ADT to install an alarm system in the victim's home.