A man who family members said was an avid golfer died Friday after he was shot at a golf course Thursday evening during a robbery attempt.
The Broward Sheriff's Office is searching for the men who shot Lataurus Randall, 35, of Deerfield Beach, in the back near the 17th hole of the Deerfield Country Club, just north of Hillsboro Boulevard and east of Interstate 95.
The Broward Sheriff's Office said Randall was playing golf with another man, identified by family members as Melvin Philpart, at about 6:30 p.m. when two masked men emerged from nearby bushes. During the robbery attempt, one of the men shot Randall.
Philpart was not injured.
Randall went to play a round of golf with Philpart, his second cousin, after visiting his uncle in the hospital, said Latoya Randall, Lataurus' sister. Randall played golf almost every day, she said.
"What he liked to do the most was play golf and spend time with his son," she said.
Deerfield Beach Fire Rescue rushed Randall to North Broward Medical Center, where he died Friday morning.
Deputies said the attackers fled into a neighborhood east of the 17th hole of the golf course. The only description sheriff's officials could get was that the suspects were wearing all black and ski masks.
The slain man owned a landscaping business, according to his sister, and left behind a 9-year old son. "I've never known my brother to have any enemies, he was a good person," Latoya Randall said. "Whoever did this, I hope they are brought to justice."
Staffers at the golf club said Friday that Randall and Philpart had become regulars in recent months, showing up to play two or three times a week.
Operations manager Patty Hayes said the two normally arrived late in the afternoon and were seen trying to hurry up before it got dark. They arrived Thursday shortly after 4 p.m. and paid greens fees in cash, said Hayes.
"They were new to golf, so they were a little slow," said Hayes. "Sometimes they finished the whole course, sometimes they did not."
Club members Friday expressed surprise over the shooting. Staffers and members say they have never felt threatened at the club.
"It is chilling," said Marc Cohen, 54, of Deerfield. "You never think something like this would happen here. This is where you go to relax, not get robbed."
Golf course expert Johnny LaPonzina said that, at the time the incident happened, most carts and golfers are no longer out on courses because it is dark. "Being out there that late gave the people the opportunity to do this," he said. "But this could happen anywhere. There is no more safe haven. I don't think this can give credence to the fact that a golf course is a safe or unsafe place."
Broward sheriff's investigators said they were planning to canvass the golf course area late Friday and distribute fliers.
Randall has a criminal history that includes charges for cocaine possession, which were dropped, and tampering with evidence. He was convicted and sentenced in 2001 for possession of drug paraphernalia. In 1994, he spent eight months in jail for dealing in stolen property.
Thursday's incident was not the first shooting at a South Florida golf club.
In March 23, 2006, Cynthia Moffett, a shop employee at the Forest Oaks Golf Club in Palm Beach County, was shot dead as she was closing up.
In 1998, Benjamin Stein, 65, was shot and killed during a robbery at the 16th hole of the Bayshore Golf Course in Miami Beach.
In 2009, Miami-Dade Police arrested a 19-year-old man for shooting at a golfer and at several nearby homes of the Killian Greens Gulf Club in the Kendall area. Nobody was hurt in that incident.
Deputies are offering a $1,000 reward for information that may lead to the arrest of the Deerfield shooter and are asking anyone with information to call Homicide Detective John Berrena at 954-321-4210 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).