TAMPA (FOX 13) - A Craigslist ad exchange turned into a deadly trap when the supposed buyers shot and killed a father in front of his teenage son, Tampa Police said Wednesday.
James Beck, whose friends called him Jimmy, had listed his son's Kawasaki dirt bike for sale and thought he had a couple of potential buyers. He'd agreed to meet them in Tampa and drove there Tuesday from his home in Holiday.
But would-be buyers were actually just luring Beck into a trap; they shot him and stole the dirt bike.
"People die of heart attacks and old age. They don't go sell a dirt bike and get shot," said Melanie Daniel, a close friend.
Neighbors heard the gunshots and helped Beck's 15-year-old son. Stuart try to save his father, but there was nothing they could do.
"He told his dad, 'I told you not to do this,'" said Lashaunda Hopson, who was among those who tried to help the son perform CPR. "It was senseless. It was something that could have been avoided."
Detectives arrested Ramontrae Williams, 16, later that night and charged him with first-degree murder and robbery. They said they found the stolen dirt bike near his home. Investigators have strong leads and are searching for Williams' accomplice.
On Wednesday, family and friends were consoling each other at Beck's home in Pasco County.
"I don't understand. I don't understand. He was here one day and gone the next," Daniel said.
"Jimmy was one of those characters that most people might have in their group that they consider the glue of it all," added Joshua Hammer, another good friend. "Consider what it means to you who that person is and hold it deae because it's so fragile."
Police said this is a good time to remind people buying on selling on websites like Craigslist or Facebook that the safest meeting place to make a transaction is at a police department or sheriff's office.
Anyone with information about the second person involved should call Tampa Police.