A door-to-door lobster salesman was shot dead this week when an attempt to peddle his wares at a Cape Coral, Florida home ended in tragedy.
Nicholas Rainey, 30, was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon in the driveway of 52-year-old Kenneth Bailey Roop during what authorities think was meant to be a routine sales pitch. Rainey was going door to door trying to sell frozen lobster tails and meat for his employer, Blue Ribbon Steak and Seafood, when he was shot.
According to a testimony given by Roop to Cape Coral Police, the homeowner yelled “What are you doing in my yard?” when the salesman approached his house. Rainey allegedly responded, “I’m here with the meat.”
Roop’s testimony, as reported by local NBC 2 News, alleges that Rainey's tone of voice, attitude and demeanor made the shooter nervous. Roop claims he became scared because the salesman was approaching his house, so he pulled out his gun and fired.
Roop adds that he fired a second time, aiming at Rainey’s head, “for effect.”
A neighbor of Roop was nearby during the shooting and said he tried to assist Rainey but it was too late.
“I went to bend over to help the guy on the ground, the victim, and out of the garage I heard something: ‘I’ll kill everybody or shoot everybody,’” former firefighter and neighbor Gene Snyder tells News-Press.
Snyder says the suspected shooter began screaming from a nearby shed and cocked his gun.
“When he came out of the garage, he looked totally deranged to me,” he says. “He looked like he was off the deep end.”
Sgt. Kristin Shiner, an off-duty Collier County corrections deputy was on the scene, however, and managed to bring Roop to the ground. The incident almost didn’t end there, though. According to Snyder, the accused shooter threatened to open fire on everyone else at the scene.
“He was telling the officer, ‘he stepped on my property, he trespassed, I’ll kill anybody that steps on my property,’ somewhere along them lines. It was just unbelievable,” Snyder recalls.
Sgt. Shiner says she had to hold Roof at gunpoint until patrol cars could be dispatched to the scene; it was her first time drawing her weapon in the nine years she has served the sheriff’s office.
"It was a first time – it was necessary," she said. "Whether I'm on duty or off duty, I'm still there to protect and serve the public,” Sgt. Shiner tells the Pine Island Eagle.
Under a controversial “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida and select other states, lethal force is permitted in instances where one can argue that they’re being threatened. Under that defense fellow Floridian George Zimmerman managed to avoid being charged in the February 2012 death of teenager Trayvon Martin until authorities indicted him weeks later. Authorities say Roop may attempt the same defense.
“Until all the facts are known, it would be premature to discuss how stand your ground law applies to this particular incident,” Cape Police Chief Jay Murphy tells News-Press.
Roop appeared in court on Thursday and was charged with homicide murder dangerous depraved without premeditation in the death. The State Attorney’s Office ordered that he be held without bond "due to the serious nature of the crime."