Two Florida business partners ended a work dispute permanently this week when they shot each other to death.
The two men were involved in a dispute at their auto body service business in Lakeland, Florida, on Thursday. The argument quickly devolved into a shootout, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said. One of the business owners was killed immediately; the other died shortly afterward after attempting to flee the scene in his truck.
“This was an avoidable tragedy stemming from a disagreement between business partners,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement, via Fox News. “We all have an obligation to our friends, our families, and society at large to talk things out instead of turning to violence. These men would still be alive today, and their families would not be grieving, had they been able to work out their differences civilly.”
According to the sheriff’s office, business partners Akeido Bennett, 31, and Xavier Figueroa, 39, both from the nearby city of Kissimmee, were involved in an ongoing dispute that culminated in both men shooting each other. Deputies told Fox News that Bennett died on scene. Figueroa attempted to leave the scene in his truck, but died from his injuries shortly after.
The two men reportedly co-owned a business on U.S. Route 92 in an unincorporated part of Lakeland. The sheriff’s office did not release the name of the business, but a search on Google Maps shows that the address is home to a business called Service On Site of Central Florida, Inc., an auto repair business. Street View images show a garage and a car lot with cars parked there.
No other suspects are believed to be at large, authorities told local news outlet WFLA, but the incident is still under investigation.
Elsewhere in the state last month, another man allegedly killed his own mother because she never “pushed” him to “be a man.”
“On November 29, 2022, at approximately 4:13 PM, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible stabbing at a residence in Kissimmee,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a statement on Facebook. “Upon arrival, it was determined that one female was deceased, and another female had severe lacerations to her hands.”
A motion for pre-trial detention from Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, obtained by NBC News, revealed that the suspect’s sister was the one who was injured.
“The victim heard their mother screaming for her life,” the documents stated.
“When the victim came out of her room, she observed the defendant stabbing their mother multiple times with a kitchen knife,” the motion said. “The victim attempted to intervene and sustained multiple deep lacerations to her hands from the defendant cutting her.”
Shortly after police arrived on the scene, they located the suspect, identified as Matthew Stewart Sisley, a short distance away from the home. The suspect was taken to the Sheriff’s Office, where he confessed to intentionally stabbing his mother and accidentally stabbing his sister.
The sheriff’s office released a partial transcript of the interview:
Detective: “Do you think your mom deserved to get stabbed?”
Suspect: “Because she never pushed me to be a man.”
Detective: “Do you regret doing it?”
Suspect: “No. I would do it again.”
Police went on to state that the suspect had been booked into the Osceola County Jail on the charge of domestic aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Additional charges would follow.