Car salesmen have a difficult job: selling a complex machine to persons who don’t understand how the machine works. The job is often made more difficult by irate customers for whom the machine does not meet expectations. This situation can often be resolved by permitting the customer to purchase an extended warranty or letting the customer return the vehicle for a full refund. Some customers cannot be placated, however, and this rage is often directed at the salesman. A recent case in Memphis shows how one salesmen suffered a fatal bullet from an especially angry customer.

The salesman sold new cars at a dealership in Memphis. He was known as the “Car King” because of his affection for the job. His sister said he had wanted to sell cars as a kid and that he loved the job. On May 21, 2020, he was in his office at Gwatney Auto Sales on Covington Pike. According to police, a man who had purchased a car from him about three weeks ago forced his way into the victim’s office and shot him to death. The suspected gunman then fled the scene and is still at large.

Police have said that the customer was angry because the car he had just purchased had a mechanical defect. The victim’s sister told police that she believed that her brother and the customer had negotiated a solution to the problem. The shooting occurred less than 24 hours after the two had reportedly reached their agreement.

Reports of the crime scene allege that closed circuit TV captured images of the suspect while he was in the victim’s office. If these reports are accurate, police will have a high probability of arresting the suspect. If captured, the man will face serious criminal charges. The facts released to date indicate that the suspect will face a heavy burden to rebut likely charges of murder or manslaughter. Anyone facing similar charges may benefit from conferring with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A capable lawyer can evaluate the evidence, suggest potential defense strategies and estimate the possibility of negotiating a favorable plea agreement.