MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -

Detectives in Miami Gardens are investigating a fatal shooting at a car wash on the corner of 441 and Northwest 191st Street that claimed the life of its well-known owner, according to neighbors.

David Clarke, a mechanic who works at Auto Zone across the street, said he heard four gunshots.

"I just heard shots. And everybody was running, and I didn't see Errold," Clarke said.

The victim's family identified the deceased as 59-year-old Errold Peart. Clarke said when he ran to the car wash tent he saw Peart's lifeless body lying in front of a car.

"He was just dead. That's it. He wasn't breathing," Clarke said.

"We're shocked because he's always a good person. He never do anybody anything wrong; he always tried to keep peace," said neighbor and customer Ray Sinclair.

Roy Crooks, Peart's first cousin, said he and his wife saw him hours before the shooting.

"She hugged him just today and told him how handsome he was," Crooks said.

Police said Peart might have been killed trying keep the peace Sunday afternoon. According to investigators, two young men attempted to rob another man near the car wash when Errol intervened.

"The victim tried to interfere to stop the robbery," said Miami Gardens Police Captain Rafael Suarez.

But at least one of the two would-be-robbers allegedly pulled out a gun and fired. Both got into a car and sped away.

"Kind of skinny -- and they fled the scene in an unknown vehicle," Capt. Suarez said.

To neighbors, friends, and customers, Peart was family.

"It's just sad that they took an innocent person's life. He didn't make it to see Christmas," said friend Tasha Wright.

Ron Gibbs, who works at a car dealership several blocks away, said Peart never took a day off work and frequently hired young men who needed a job and a male role model.

"It's just a tragedy because this guy -- I've seen him hire kids from the community that couldn't get a job nowhere else," Gibbs said.

Miami Gardens Police are asking anyone with information to call them or Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at 305-471-TIPS.