The horrific crime unfolded inside the packed dining room of a popular West Boca eatery. More than 20 terrified diners watched as a worker wielding a huge knife stabbed the restaurant owner and another worker during a dinnertime melee.
The reason for the rampage? Palm Beach deputies say the worker — 42-year-old Tilus Lebrun — was angry that his photo had been taken and posted online on March 2. So he attacked Dimitrios Karaloukas, owner of Jimmy the Greek Taverna, during Thursday’s supper rush.
Karaloukas died of his wounds a short while after being stabbed. The other worker, not yet identified by deputies, was taken to Delray Medical Center in critical condition.
In the aftermath of the crime, Karaloukas’s family was left in shock.
Joseph Scurto, who is Karaloukas’ stepbrother, described him as a family man who loved his wife, kids and grandkids. Scurto said Karaloukas, who lived in West Boca and was known by most as “Jimmy,” cared for his restaurant as he would a child — and that he treated his customers well.
“He loved what he did, he loved the people that he served,” Scurto said in a phone call from his home in New York on Friday. “If someone came in and they didn’t have money, he would take care of them”.
Lebrun’s cousin Markenson Augustin, 21, who lives with Lebrun in Pompano Beach, said he’s a “good guy” working two jobs to help send money back to his three children in Haiti. Augustin said Lebrun moved to the U.S. in 2005.
“We’re shocked because we didn’t expect something like this,” Augustin said in a phone call Friday. “He was working like crazy. I don’t see him too much because he’s always working.”
He didn’t know why Lebrun would get so upset about a photo.
Augustin said Lebrun worked at the Sun Sentinel Distribution Center in Deerfield Beach. Hired through a temporary staffing agency, he worked from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. He started working at Jimmy the Greek restaurant in January, Augustin said. His shift as a dishwasher started there at 3:30 p.m.
Augustin said Lebrun expressed frustration with the restaurant job. Augustin said he told Lebrun he should quit the dishwashing job.
State records show no arrests for Lebrun. Augustin described Lebrun as a normal person and said he and the rest of the family were stunned over his murder arrest.
Deputies say the attack happened at about 7:30 p.m. with the restaurant bustling with customers.
Employees told deputies Karaloukas, 61, was sitting near the front of the restaurant when walked up to him carrying a large knife and began stabbing him, three times in his left side and once in the back, for no apparent reason, the arrest report said.
Karaloukas died from his injuries at about 8:45 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies found Lebrun wearing a black work apron and carrying a knife on the 8000 block of Glades Road near the Florida Turnpike shortly after the killing. Some witnesses told Sun Sentinel news partner CBS12 the weapon was a meat cleaver.
While sitting in a deputy’s cruiser, Lebrun asked the deputy if he was Haitian, and when the deputy said yes, Lebrun spoke to him in Creole saying: “I killed him because he took my photograph on March 2 and posted it on the Internet.”
In an interview at sheriff’s office headquarters, Lebrun told the deputy: “They need to learn how to respect people. I have three kids in Haiti. I know they will suffer, but they will survive,” according to the report.
The deputy said while driving to headquarters for the interview, Lebrun repeatedly said Karaloukas had taken his photo without permission.
Lebrun is being held in Palm Beach County Jail without bail on homicide and attempted homicide charges.