COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A kind family man and Colorado Springs business owner was remembered by friends and family in a candlelight vigil Friday, one day after his life was taken in an apparent armed robbery.
Mourners, ignoring the rain, gathered in front of FullThrottle Auto Service, the shop George Maldonado Sr. owned and the place he lost his life. Several carried black and white checked umbrellas in a nod to Maldonado's passion for auto racing.
"It's a loss for words, to see this family try to hold themselves together and go through so much pain," said relative Tamra Ortega.
Detectives are still sorting out what happened Thursday morning, but tell 11 News the call came in a little before 8 as an aggravated robbery with two victims tied up in the shop.
"[Sand] Creek [substation] had a robbery with a weapon over at the FullThrottle ... I do not have any suspect information; however, they say [the suspects] were with utilities and broke and assaulted parties."-CSPD 911 dispatch tape
Maldanado was already dead when police got to the 305 N. Chelton Road shop. The second victim was badly hurt but still alive.
"I am in the back door with one person sitting outside bleeding profusely from the head, say there is another victim laid out on the floor. Suspects, there's supposed to be two of them."-CSPD 911 dispatch tape
In surveillance video released by police, the suspects can be seen in reflective safety vests, with one wearing what appears to be a hard hat. A police spokesperson told 11 News the suspects may have posed as utility workers. It's not clear if they took anything from the shop. (The video can be viewed at the top and bottom of this page.)
One of the suspects, Derrick Davis, was arrested at a Super 8 Motel in Bloomington, Minnesota. The second suspect, Eric William Grant remains wanted.
A friend said Maldonado was very active in the local car racing community and death had hit their racing family hard.
"George never had an unkind remark and he raised a whole clan of the nicest family! ... All are very hardworking types. ... George was always supportive of my having raced cars in a sport that's typically male-dominated," she told 11 News.
"My heart just kinda, woosh," said Cleo Martin, another friend of Maldonado. "I was just like, 'Wow, you never know what's going to happen when you wake up in the morning.' It's just very sad, very sad. I'm so sorry for his family, for their loss."
Martin brought flowers for a makeshift memorial forming outside the shop.
Police say a green or blue 1995-2001 Dodge Ram 1500 may be tied to the crime. It has an extended cab, tinted windows and possibly custom rims.
The truck has oxidation on the hood and roof. The vehicle may have body damage to the vehicle passenger side.
Anyone with information about any possible suspects are asked to call police at 719-444-7000 or remain anonymous through Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP.
"Be honest with God and come and let his family know. 'I did this,' go do your time. Make it easier for the family to get over this. Come clean," Martin said of the suspects.
A funeral service for Maldonado is scheduled for Monday July 24, at 1 p.m. according to 11 News partner The Gazette. The service will be held at Rocky Mountain Calvary, 4285 N. Academy Boulevard. He is survived by his wife, three sons, a daughter and two grandchildren.