Vero Beach police say homeless man shot, killed after attacking couple

Posted at 8:42 AM, Oct 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 19:29:45-04

Vero Beach police said a homeless man was shot and killed late Wednesday night after an attack at a gas station.

Police spokeswoman Anna Carden said the incident occurred just after 11:30 p.m. at a Sunoco gas station located at 1901 US 1.

Investigators say Robert Rock was sleeping outside the gas station when he woke up and accused Shawntavious Banner of stealing from him.

Detectives say Banner and his wife got in their car to leave but the driver's side window was down and Rock reached through, grabbed Banner, and tried to stab him with a four-inch knife.

At that point Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey said Banner shot Rock in the chest, killing him with a legally concealed handgun.

Rock was taken to the hospital where he later died.
Police say they've had numerous run-ins with Rock.

The family that runs the gas station says homeless people like Rock spend a lot of time outside their store,  "It's really bad for the business.

People don't like it. They come inside and complain about it. Every other day, like couple of days we have to call the cops to take them out of the streets from our property," a store spokesman said.

But Vero Beach police say they work proactively to avoid these types of situations.

Chief Currey said other business owners in the area have worked with his officers to cut down on loitering and make the stretch of U.S.1 a safer place for customers.

But at the station where the incident took place he said, "If it's during business hours they don't want us removing them if they're spending their money for whatever, alcohol, cigarettes, food, whatever it may be."

Banner wasn't arrested or charged after the shooting.

Officers say he was acting in self-defense and did everything right.

He called police right after the confrontation and waited at the gas station for them to arrive.