A gunman bust into a home and opened fire while a real estate agent was showing a home to a married couple, killing the husband, a recent article in the Sun Sentinel said.
“I was just showing the house, and my buyer was killed,” real estate agent Thomas Dwyer said about the 10 a.m. shooting on the 2700 block of Northwest Sixth Court, just outside Fort Lauderdale. “He just came into the house and started firing.”
The victim was identified Friday as Kenol Jean, 51, of Pompano Beach.
The potential homebuyer, Jean, was reportedly a sergent in the Haitian military.
An arrest still has not been made, but detectives believe that robbery was the motive. One report specualtes that a gold chain Jean was wearing prompted the crime.
The house had only been put on the market since Tuesday and was newly renovated.
This tragic event is not the first attack on real estate agents but continues to remind agents that they must take care and precautions to protect themselves, given the exposed nature of the business.
Back in July, following an arrest by the Philadelphia police in connection with a carjacking of a Realtor, HousingWire published an article over 10 steps from the National Association of Realtors on how to stay safe. It’s unclear if securing the property once everyone was inside would have made a difference.
Here is another look on what those ten tips were:
- If possible, always try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house.
- Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial.
- Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
- Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
- Have all open house visitors sign in. Ask for full name, address, phone number and e-mail.
- When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
- Avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms.
- Notify someone in your office, your answering service, a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to call you.
- Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
- Don’t assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors. Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.