A Florida teenager witnessed his father’s slaying earlier this week after the pair arranged a meeting with potential buyers of a dirt bike the boy was selling.
Stuart Beck, 15, and his father, James Beck, both of Holiday, arranged a meeting with Ramontrae Williams, 16, and Dontae Johnson, 17, after they responded to the teenager’s ad on Craigslist. The Tampa Police Department said that father and son drove to Tampa Tuesday night with the Kawasaki dirt bike, which the teen had outgrown, in the bed of their truck.
When they arrived at the prearranged meeting place, however, James Beck realized that the teenagers planned to rob them. As he tried to leave, Johnson shot him and Williams took the bike.
Fox 13 in Tampa reported that residents near the scene heard the gunshots and tried to help Stuart Beck save his father. One woman told the news station that the distraught teen told his father, “I told you not to do this,” as they attempted CPR.
James Beck, who family and friends called Jimmy, died at the scene. He was 44 years old.
Stuart Beck described his father to WFLA in Tampa as a “wonderful man” with a great sense of humor.
“He always had a smile on his face and he made the whole room happy,” the teen said.
Friends mourning on social media offered a similar glimpse into the husband and father.
Stuart Beck said riding dirt bikes started as his father’s hobby, but gradually became his as well.
“I got (the bike) as a Christmas present and I worshipped it, because it came from my dad. He taught me how to ride,” Stuart Beck said.
After the shooting, detectives were able to identify Williams and took him into custody later that night. The stolen dirt bike was found near Williams’ home.
Johnson was also identified and was arrested on Wednesday, the police department said. Both teens are charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery.
Johnson is also charged with discharge of a firearm in public.
James Beck’s widow, Susie Beck, described him as a “beautiful soul” on a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for his funeral, as well as for house repairs he planned on finishing over the next several months. The page surpassed its $10,000 goal to collect nearly $14,000 in a single day.
“Beloved husband, father, son and best friend, he will be eternally missed,” Susie Beck wrote on the page.
She also warned people to beware of dangers when buying or selling items online.
“Please be safe when buying online -- and hug the ones you love. You never know when a day could be the last,” she wrote.
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