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Real estate agent's killing prompts others to enroll in self-defense class

Sara Trost shot to death inside car in Coral Springs
Echo Fine Properties employees learn mixed martial arts
Posted at 3:07 PM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 18:09:58-05

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — After a Broward County real estate agent was ambushed and fatally shot last week, others in the same career field are on high alert.

At a brokerage in Palm Beach Gardens, real estate agents are learning how to fight back against a possible attacker.

Inside her office at Echo Fine Properties, real estate agent Jamie Garber was busy Tuesday making cold calls to clients she had never met, hoping it will lead to a sale.

Jamie Garber, real estate agent at Echo Fine Properties
Jamie Garber is among those at Echo Fine Propertie taking self-defense classes.

"When I'm working with a new client, I will get them pre-approved right away to know who they are," Garber said.

When she goes to showings, safety is always in the back of her mind.

All of this comes after Sara Trost, a real estate agent in Broward County, was gunned down inside her car outside a house she was showing in Coral Springs.

Sara Trost, real estate agent fatally shot Dec. 23, 2021 outside a home in Coral Springs, Fla.
Sara Trost was fatally shot Dec. 23, 2021, outside a home in Coral Springs, Fla.

Jeff Lichtenstein, the president of Echo Fine Properties, said in an effort to keep his employees safe, he's enrolling them in a mixed martial arts class.

"They're going through real-world situations of what could possibly happen and talking about it. A lot of it is verbal, talking about a lot of different situations and then learning skills of what you do," Lichtenstein said.

Jeff Lichtenstein, Echo Fine Properties
Jeff Lichtenstein speaks about enrolling his employees in self-defense classes.

He said before meeting new clients, his team will often comb through social media profiles of prospective buyers and sellers, learning more about them and never going to showings alone.

"When we set up a buyer, we have client concierges. We have four people internally on the phone, and we're gathering data beforehand, so at least our agents know who they're meeting with before scheduled," Lichtenstein said.

"I would definitely recommend everybody to take a class on martial arts, definitely," Garber said.

A suspect in Trost's killing was arrested last week near Boca Raton.