A truly senseless crime took the life of a Philadelphia man who was killed while protecting his daughter from would-be carjackers.
Gerard Grandzol, 38, was shot in the face at point-blank range by two suspects who confronted him around 8pm on Thursday after he had parked his SUV on the one-way street just outside his family’s home in Philadelphia, according to police, CBS Philly/KWY reported.
Grandzol apparently handed over his wallet but refused the suspects’ demand to hand over the keys to his car, in an attempt to protect his two year-old daughter who was still strapped in the back seat.
He was shot at least once in the face and died at a nearby hospital.
“They wanted the car; he wouldn’t give up the car. And they shot him for it,” Captain John Ryan of the Philadelphia police told CBS Philly.
An executive director of a legal recruiting and staffing firm, Grandzol recently had celebrated the birth a new daughter as well. Neighbors rushed to help him as the suspects fled.
‘By the time we ran up to him, people were bandaging him, holding him… and right in the head, right in the face, there was a pool of blood,” one resident told WPVI.
The suspects were described as two black men in their late teens or early twenties wearing dark clothing
“There’s a great deal of people upstairs as we speak working on this job and we’re making every effort to bring these people to justice,” Ryan said.
#RIP: #GerardGrandzol, 38, was gunned down when he was getting out of his car on Thursday night in #Philadelphia. Police say the Grandzol’s 2-year-old daughter and the family dog were inside the vehicle when the shooting occurred. Grandzol, who was a father of two, served as executive director of Special Counsel, a legal recruiting firm, and spent many years serving community organizations such as the Spring Garden Civic Association, in an effort to make the city better and safer, according to family members. Two suspects are wanted in connection to his killing. (📸/Maureen Newberry)
“This is just not fair that this is how he died. He was just the best father to our two girls that you could even imagine,” Kristen Grandzol, the victim’s wife, told KYW Newsradio.
“He was welcoming to everyone in the neighborhood. Everybody loved him and he was just the best. Those two gunshots just destroyed my life and my two daughters don’t have a father now. I have a six-week-old daughter and a two-and-a-half year-old who saw the whole thing and I don’t know if she’ll ever be right,” she said through tears.
“We’re going to miss him so dearly,” neighbor Yee Wan told CBS.
“He was a fabulous person. He was the best husband, father, neighbor, friend that we could ever ask for,” Wan said. “We had a block party a few weeks ago and he was the man of the hour.”
The neighbor described the young father as someone who “just brought everyone to life.”
“It’s senseless. I’m losing words right now to even describe it,” wan said.
In a statement to the news channel, the Grandzol family said:
We are heartbroken to announce the tragic and senseless loss of our beloved father, son, brother, grandson, uncle, cousin, and friend, Gerard Patrick Grandzol. Ger loved the city and devoted much of his time to community activism. He was often seen riding his bike from his home in Spring Garden to his office at Special Counsel, where he was a successful executive. Ger loved being a father to his two-year-old and six-week-old daughters and adored his wife of almost two years. His smile, sense of humor, and love of life touched all who knew him. We would like to thank the first responders who tried to save Ger and the officers of the Philadelphia Police Department who are thoroughly investigating this heinous crime. We implore anyone with information about what happened to call Philadelphia Police.
A Facebook page titled “Remembering Gerard Grandzol,” was set up for family and friends to share memories and photos.
“My brother, Gerard Grandzol, was one of a kind. Charming, witty, always smiling and devising ways to have fun,” one of the posts shared.
Grandzol’s sister Maureen Newberry told CBS that he loved the neighborhood where he lived.
“The area he lived was a very close-knit group of his friends and neighbors who became friends,” she said. “I want people to remember him for who he was as a person because he was amazing and he put himself in danger for his daughter.”
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