Rockledge Employees Take Down Auto Shop Gunman

Auto shop employees take down gunman in Rockledge.
Auto shop employees take down gunman in Rockledge. (Contributed photo by Terry Folsom)

ROCKLEDGE, Florida – A gunman who killed one employee and paralyzed a second at an auto shop was eventually taken down by mechanics, according to police.

Employees at Schlenker Automotive at 396 Barton Boulevard in Rockledge saw a man armed with a .45-caliber handgun with extra ammunition began firing in the parking lot Friday afternoon.

Rockledge police chief Joseph La Sata said the employees fought back with equal force to take down the gunman.

“The manager, who was a concealed weapons permit holder, came out and engaged in gunfire in the parking lot,” La Sata said. “The manager fled back inside the building, being chased by the gunman. Another Schlenker employee, who also had concealed weapons permit, engaged in gunfire with the suspect.”

The suspect, 28-year-old Robert Lorenzo Bailey Jr. was shot twice and is in critical condition at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.

“If not for the brave, quick thinking of the employees at Schlenker, this could have been a lot worse,” La Sata said. “Mr. Bailey had multiple magazines on his person. He was intent on doing harm. The employees stepped up.”

Roger Lee Smith, 50, had been shot and killed in the parking lot by the suspect, police said.

Smith was shot after he stepped out into the parking lot after hearing gunshots that paralyzed his 25-year-old co-worker, La Sata said.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the shooting.

La Sata said there was no connection between Bailey and the Rockledge auto shop.

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Scott Lee travels between Brevard County and Indian River County and has been writing for various publications for approximately 30 years. Lee also writes for Sebastian Daily covering Vero Beach and Florida news. Currently, he covers Palm Bay, West Melbourne, and the Melbourne area.
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