MELBOURNE, Fla. (WABC) -- Eyewitness News has learned that a man killed in a shooting at a Florida mall was a well-known restaurant owner and chef in New Jersey.
36-year-old Leonardo Coppola was shot while shielding a woman from her husband as he opened fire at a mall in Melbourne on Saturday.
The woman survived. 33-year-old Idanerys Garcia-Rodriguez remains hospitalized in good condition and has been cooperating with detectives.
Coppola's family says they're not surprised he died trying to help someone else as he's always been their hero.
The gunman turned the gun on himself and also died.
Statement from the Family of Leonardo Coppola: "We are shocked, saddened and numb. The loss of Leonardo, our beloved husband, father, son and brother, is unimaginable to us. He was deeply committed to his family and his community, and the world has lost a beautiful soul. It came as no surprise to us that he died trying to help someone else. He has always been our hero, and that is how he will be remembered. We respectfully ask for privacy during this painful time, so that our family can come together to mourn and to heal. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to a special account for the continued care and upbringing of Leonardo's eight year old son. Donations should be made payable to Ameriprise Financial or Kimberly Coppola and be mailed to Ameriprise Financial, 2300 East Lincoln Hwy, Suite 705 Langhorne, PA 19047. Thank you for the outpouring of support.
(Some information from the Associated Press)
NJ business owner killed in Florida mall shooting