HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - The father-in-law of Mike Gilotti, the 33-year-old man who was shot to death in front of his Hoover home early Tuesday, tearfully shared the final words the Iraq war veteran spoke before he died with his wife by his side.
Guy Higgins said Mike Gilotti was able to speak to his wife very briefly before he passed.
"It happened so suddenly, the wound was just devastating. He was bleeding internally very badly. But he did say those final words, 'God, please forgive me for my sins,'" Higgins said.
Higgins, from Foley, AL, said the family is very thankful for all of the support they've received. He said they are all heartbroken.
Gilotti had been married to his wife for nearly eight years and was a father to their two sons, ages 5 and 1. His wife described him as an amazing father, an amazing spouse and a stand-up citizen who loved the Lord.
A first lieutenant with the U.S. Army 212 Calvary, he served 15 months in Iraq as a tank commander. He returned from Iraq in December 2007 and married his wife a month later.
Originally from Connecticut, he and his wife moved from Jacksonville, FL to Alabama three years ago. He worked as a State Farm team manager and was leaving early Tuesday morning to go to the gym before work when he was fatally shot.
Neighbors in the Lake Cyrus subdivision in Hoover put out American flags and candles to honor Mike Gilotti's memory after learning the devastating news.
The Gilotti family also has an American flag flying and a candle in front of their yard.
One neighbor who lives a street over from the Gilottis started a GoFundMe account to raise money for the family. There are at least two GoFundMe accounts that are raising funds for the Gilotti family.
Hoover Police Captain Gregg Rector vowed that the police department will use all of their resources to arrest the suspect or suspects responsible for Gilotti's death.
Police believe Gilotti's death may be connected to a series of at least 10 car break-ins that were reported in the same neighborhood.
Hoover police were called to a reported shooting in the 5550 block of Parkside Circle in the Lake Cyrus subdivision around 4:55 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Rector said Gilotti was shot once in the upper body, collapsed in front of his home and died at the scene.
"It's disgusting and it angers us and we're going to use all our means that we have at our disposal to solve this crime," Captain Rector said.
Later on Tuesday morning, investigators recovered a truck in Bessemer they believe is connected to the case.
Bessemer police were notified of an abandoned 2000 Ford F-250 near the intersection of Roland Avenue and Elmore Street around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Some of the items recovered from the truck were stolen from car break-ins on Parkside Circle in Hoover.
Four black male suspects were seen walking away from the truck and getting into a dark-colored Jeep Cherokee. Investigators believe the suspects have ties to the Bessemer area.
Further investigation revealed that the truck recovered had been stolen from the Highway 69/Inverness area in Tuscaloosa County on Monday night.
Several other vehicles in the area were broken into on the same night. Investigators believe that the suspects committed the Tuscaloosa County break-ins before going to Hoover and breaking into cars there.
Anyone with any information about the case or home surveillance video from the Lake Cyrus neighborhood is asked to call the Hoover Police Sergeant Keith Czeskleba at 205-739-6795, the Hoover Police Department at 205-822-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.