An attempt at reconciliation between feuding business partners turned into a tragic murder-suicide this week. Investor Emad Tawfilis met with Robert Dahl at Napa's Dahl Vineyards on Monday to discuss a financial dispute, with their lawyers on speakerphone. But when the call ended during a break, police say Dahl pulled a gun on Tawfilis, who ran from the office and through the vineyard. He was able to call 911 as Dahl followed him in an SUV, firing at him with a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun. An injured Tawfilis then "fell to the ground as Dahl exited his SUV with the handgun, walked up to the victim and appeared to execute him just as the deputies were arriving," police say, per the San Francisco Chronicle. After a high-speed chase, Dahl crashed into a wooded area and apparently shot himself as authorities closed in.
Tawfilis' lawyer says his client's investment group had loaned Dahl $1.2 million to start Minnesota's Patio Wine Company, which Dahl then closed. Tawfilis filed a lawsuit last August claiming Dahl misused the money to encourage investments in other properties. Dahl also sued Tawfilis, arguing his interest charges were "illegally high," the AP reports. Tawfilis' lawyer says the men agreed Dahl would pay Tawfilis an undisclosed amount of money and they were to hash out the details during the meeting. Dahl's lawyer says it was a "peaceful" discussion. "There was certainly no indication of violence." A former business partner says Dahl, previously convicted of felony swindling and theft, was "one of the best salesmen I ever met. But I later found out many of his business dealings were not ethical or legal." (Dahl Vineyards was damaged in last year's wine country quake.)