MIAMI – Authorities were searching Monday for a man who witnesses said shot and killed an Illinois tourist who was asking for directions.
After dropping his son off at a shopping mall, Ronald Gentile, 54, pulled over in the Coconut Grove area Saturday afternoon, police said. Witnesses reported seeing Gentile roll down the window on his rented white Chevrolet Cobalt. A man dressed in black then apparently approached the vehicle, robbed and shot Gentile.
"We are speculating that because he was not familiar with the area, he stopped to ask for directions," said Miami police spokesman William Moreno.
The furniture salesman from Homewood, Ill., stumbled out of his car and collapsed. Only one person stopped to help, police said. Gentile was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
"There are many businesses and many people in the area," Moreno said. "There are many witnesses, and only one stayed with the victim. We are asking those [other] witnesses to realize that this is a human life, a great father."
Authorities were not saying where Gentile was shot, how many times or exactly what the suspect took.
Gentile was in South Florida to celebrate his son's 17th birthday.
"This is a horrible crime," said Gentile's ex-wife, Cathy Girten-Gleber. "We are his family. We loved him. We need to find the person who did this."