The Washington Post

Auto body shop owner fatally shot; police search for missing Audi

Vida Watson was at a conference in Florida when she got the call: Police had surrounded her husband’s auto body shop in Landover with yellow crime-scene tape, and relatives could not reach him. She phoned and texted Keith Watson herself — to no avail — before hopping on a plane and praying that she would find a message from her husband when she landed.

Inside V&W Auto Body, police say, Keith Watson, 48, was already dead — fatally shot by someone who remains at large. Investigators are looking for Watson’s Audi A6, which was taken during the killing, but they are also still probing who might have slain Watson and why.

“It should not have happened,” Vida Watson said in an interview Wednesday outside her home in Upper Marlboro. “It’s a nice car, but it wasn’t to the point where you have to take somebody’s life to get.”

So far, Prince George’s County police have released few details about the incident, which occurred about 1 p.m. Monday in the 8500 block of Rainswood Drive.

Law enforcement officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they could be disciplined for discussing an open case, said detectives are not certain that stealing the car was the primary motive for the killing. They are investigating other possibilities.

Keith Watson (Courtesy of Prince George's County Police Department )

Vida Watson said her husband had co-owned the shop for about five years, and on Monday, like most days, he was working there. Vida Watson said she got a call from her sister-in-law telling her that police had surrounded the shop and no one could reach her husband.

Vida Watson said she tried to call and text him herself, but he did not respond. When she got on the plane, she knew his car was missing, but it wasn’t until she landed in the Washington area that Keith Watson’s daughter told her what had happened.

“I really lost it,” Vida Watson said. “I just started crying.”

Vida Watson said her husband, who came to the United States from Jamaica about 20 years ago, was a “hard worker” and a loving father to his two children and stepson. He had long worked repairing cars; the two met when he brought one to a shop where she was working to get an alignment done. In his spare time, Keith Watson enjoyed playing dominos.

“He was extremely helpful and generous to everyone,” Vida Watson said. “If you had a need, he’d find a way to fulfill that need for you.”

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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