Pizzeria Owner Died Saving Worker in Mall Shooting

He tried to grab gun from employee's husband
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2015 3:16 AM CST
Pizzeria Owner Died Saving Worker in Mall Shooting
Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a shooting at the Melbourne Square mall on Jan. 17, 2015, in Melbourne, Fla.   (AP Photo/Florida Today, Malcolm Denemark)

More details have emerged in Saturday's deadly shooting at a mall in Melbourne, Fla.—and the person fatally shot by gunman Jose Garcia-Rodriguez has emerged as a hero. Police say pizzeria owner Leonardo Coppola was killed trying to save the life of the gunman's wife, who was one of his employees, reports the New York Daily News. Police have confirmed that Coppola, 36, tried to move Ida Garcia-Rodriguez out of the way when her husband turned up at the mall to confront her, and the city's mayor tells the Orlando Sentinel that Coppola also tried to grab the gun. The 33-year-old wife, Garcia-Rodriguez's intended victim, was also shot but survived and is in good condition in the hospital, police say.

Garcia-Rodriguez, 57—who fatally shot himself before police arrived at the scene—turned up at the mall with three handguns and pockets full of ammunition, according to police, who say the shooting may have stemmed from a domestic violence incident. When the mall reopened yesterday, Coppola's business remained closed, with flower bouquets and candles placed on the countertops. "We're still in shock," the mayor says. "We're a small town. It's just hard to believe that it happened." Says the manager of a nearby tattoo parlor to WFTV of Coppola, "He was a really good man." (This teen shielded his mother from a hail of bullets.)

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