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Detroit — A 45-year-old automobile painter was gunned down in broad daylight after police say he had words with a motorist who was blocking the street on the city’s southwest side.

David Gergel went to Detroit on Sept. 6 to get a down payment for a planned painting job, when about 2 p.m. he was shot and killed while driving northbound on Woodmere near the Dearborn border.

“Preliminarily, it looks like this was a road rage incident,” Assistant Detroit Police Chief Steve Dolunt said. “Unfortunately, we’re not getting a lot of leads, and we’re hoping the public can help.”

Witnesses told police the driver of a late-model Cadillac was blocking the street when Gergel pulled up behind him and told him to move.

After a brief argument, Gergel continued driving on Woodmere. The man in the Cadillac followed him, Dolunt said.

At some point, the suspect opened fire, shooting Gergel in the chest. Relatives say he was able to drive a few blocks to a store at Dix and Woodmere. The store owner called 911, and an ambulance arrived, taking him to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

“It’s a shame; Dave was a really good guy, and he was killed so young, while there are terrible people out there like this (suspect), who will probably live to be 100,” said Gergel’s sister, Rene Cizio. “It’s scary. We need to get this guy off the street.”

Gergel’s 21-year-old daughter added in a written statement: “They didn’t just take my Dad’s life, they also robbed me of my future. He’ll never see me get married, or meet the children I hope to one day have.”

Gergel was friends with the customer he was going to see the day of the killing, Cizio said.

“My brother and him used to be neighbors,” she said. “When he painted cars, he’d get half the money up front. He was headed to (the customer’s) house to get his money (when the shooting occurred).”

Surveillance video footage from a nearby business captured an image of the Cadillac.

Crime Stoppers of Michigan is offering a $2,500 reward for any information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call (800) SPEAK-UP, or Detroit police homicide Det. Sgt. Mackie at (313) 596-5234.

GHunter@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2134

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