Just 15 hours before a Eustis auto parts store employee was gunned down at work by a stalker, police learned her attacker had a violent criminal past, but officers were unable to meet up with the woman to confirm his identity.
Rose Nelson, 54, was fatally shot in Advance Discount Auto Parts at 2010 N. State Road 19 by Gilberto Roman Rivera. Authorities shot and killed Roman in a gunfight about two hours after the store shooting.
On Monday, Nelson filed a police report saying that Roman, whom she had known for five months and had gone out with several times, met her at her workplace and had a gun.
She said Roman got into her car and told her to drive but she was eventually able to coax him out of the vehicle, the police report stated. She said he never directly threatened her.
Nelson, who told police that she didn't know Roman's full name, said he wanted their friendship to develop into a romantic relationship, but she declined, the police report stated.
Roman also went to Nelson's home and flowers were left on her car while she was at church, police said. A card found with the flowers was unsigned but read, "I'm sorry and I miss you."
The next day, Nelson provided police with a possible last name, and detectives linked Roman to her. Detectives found that in 1999 Roman tried to kill his ex-wife by burning down her home in Mount Plymouth. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was on probation when he shot Nelson.
Before 8 a.m. Wednesday, a detective called Nelson at work, attempting to make arrangements to show her the photographic lineup and re-interview her. Nelson said she preferred to go to the police department after work, and about 10 minutes later, she was shot and killed, police said.
Local 6 spoke to Nelson's mother, who said her daughter was well-liked and spent her free time as a bookkeeper at the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist.
"She had a good heart, she just smiled all the time," said Mary Armstrong. "She never bothered nobody."
Police said another clerk was also shot by Romand inside the auto parts store and was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center.
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