PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A father and family man is being remembered Friday after he was killed by a stray bullet at his auto shop. Fifty-six-year-old Michael Gleba was a mechanic, a loving father and grandfather originally from the Wissinoming section of North Philadelphia.
But to most, like Gleba’s former employee 18-year-old Kendall Ball, Gleba was a man who would help anyone with anything.
“I didn’t want to sell drugs like that, so I asked him if I could clean the shop for him and he ended up giving me a job there and from there he just like looked out for my mom because we didn’t have a lot of money like for her family,” Ball said.
Gleba was gunned down outside of his own auto shop, the Northeast Speedometer Service on the 4700 block of Benner Street.
Philadelphia Police say Gleba was an innocent bystander, caught in the crossfire of a gunfight over drugs between two groups of men. He was doing what he loved, working on a vehicle, when 15 gunshots rang out in broad daylight.
A suspect was taken into custody in connection to the shooting Friday afternoon, but it is not known if he was the shooter.
“We are in disbelief and it’s still hard to digest at this point,” Gleba’s sister-in-law Bernadine Cohen said.
Cohen says Gleba leaves behind five children and at least 10 grandchildren.
“Nothing made him happier than to be surrounded by his family,” Cohen said.
His family described Gleba as a simple person who enjoyed fishing and hunting. Loved ones lit candles as police patrolled nearby Friday.
Ronnie Smith is a former customer of Gleba.
“Mike was a beautiful person,” Smith said. “He would give you the shirt off his back. I moved up here like 12 years ago, I had nobody and this man like really like he looked out for me. He fixed my car for free. You know what I mean, he let me go.”
Although he no longer worked for Gleba, Ball kept in touch.
“I was supposed to fix my car tomorrow with him and that broke my heart, it broke my heart to find out that he passed away,” Ball said.
Police are looking for three other gunmen involved in the shootout. According to police, surveillance video of the incident shows that one of the four men was shot in the arm and they are checking local hospitals to see if he checks in.