MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A man was gunned down early Monday morning outside an IHOP in Miami Springs.
The shooting took place just before 4 a.m. in the restaurant’s parking lot off NW 36th Street at 51st Avenue, just north of Miami International Airport.
“From what we have gathered with preliminary information, a man stopped by with his female friend to have breakfast while on their way home. They were the only customers there aside from employees. Apparently, the victim stepped out to his vehicle and he was confronted by an unknown subject or subjects, it’s unclear at this point. All the employees heard were gunshots,” said Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
Police identified the victim as 25-year-old Junior Catilus.
A dozen evidence markers in the parking lot near spent bullet casings indicate Catilus was shot multiple times.
“That seems excessive. It is pretty crazy the times we are living in. I mean why shoot the guy,” said Michael Alexander. “We’re staying right down the street at a hotel. This doesn’t make me feel very safe. That’s why I don’t go out at four in the morning.”
“That’s terrible. That’s ridiculous. I don’t think it should have happened at all. He was just trying to get something to eat,” said customer Carolyn Glovsky who stopped by the IHOP for a quick bite.
Investigators the man was not a tourist but he was driving a rental car. The woman who had accompanied Catilus didn’t see what happened.
“She was in the restaurant. She happened to go to the restroom at the time he stepped out. She was not able to see what happened,” said Zabaleta. ”
“This was a 25-year-old man who was just starting his life. It was sad to see this,” he added.
Investigators have asked anyone who may have seen something to come forward.
“Because of the time of day there was a lot of traffic along NW 36th street and we are urging anyone who may have seen anything to contact us. Maybe they saw a car speeding away or someone on a bicycle. Perhaps they didn’t know what was going on at the time but now know it’s a murder,” said Zabaleta. “We do have a hotel right next to it. Maybe there is someone there who may have some information.”
“We do hope there are people out there in the community who can help. We have limited information right now,” he added.
A check of records shows Catilus had been arrested numerous times on charges including aggravated battery, obstructing police and trespassing.
It’s not known if his criminal past was connected to this crime.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS or send a text message to CRIMES and enter CSMD followed by the “tip”. There is a reward of up to $3,000.