Family Mourns Murdered Flatbush Car Dealer


Cars on Utica closed on Friday in memory of Robert Carnival, who was killed there last Saturday.   Edmund DeMarche/Brooklyn View

Cars on Utica closed on Friday in memory of Robert Carnival, who was killed there last Saturday. Edmund DeMarche/Brooklyn View

By Edmund DeMarche and Fred Friedman

 Three days after the Saturday evening shooting that took the life of Robert Carnival, who owned Cars on Utica, his car dealership sat idle. Yellow police lines hung ripped behind the black gate with a sign that read, “Due To Unfortunate Circumstances—Cars on Utica—Will Be Closed Until 1-2-09.”

Moktar Saleh works at Star 6 Mini Market, steps from where the shooting occurred. He was about to make a sandwich for a customer, when a kid entered his store and said, “Someone’s been shot.”

Saleh left his counter and ran up the block to see Carnival lying on the ground.

“He was lying there with blood all over his chest,” said Saleh, who said he’s friends with many of Carnival’s co-workers. “He was mumbling and his workers were telling him it’d be OK.”

Carnival was a hard working man and father of two young children who died valiantly, trying to wrestle the gun from one of the three robbers, according to police. He was rushed to Kings County Hospital but died from the two gun shot wounds to the chest.

The business had a sign that reads “Cars for Cash,” which his great uncle, John Lawrence, a retired cop, described as an open invitation to robbery.


Carnival’s wake was on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at the Marine Park Funeral Home. It attracted a crowd of more than 100 respectful but grieving mourners.


“He was the best guy I ever met,” said Harold, a friend who shared Christmas Eve dinner with Carnival, outside the funeral home. “He would help you out if you needed it.”


Harold also lived in the area growing up but left when he saw the area’s safety decline. “My mother lived in Mill Basin. She was robbed and I had to move her out.”


“Bob always had a smile on his face, mingled with everybody and was always there for you if you needed him,” said Lawrence. “He was a great person to know.”  Lawrence said that Flatbush is becoming increasingly dangerous.


Mourners entered the funeral home by the carloads.


The killing occurred one block away from the Brooklyn View’s headquarters, on Ave. M and Utica and many consider it another senseless act of violence perpetrated on a neighborhood guy, who lived in the Flatlands area. According to a co-worker, he loved to eat Italian food, especially Chicken Parmesan.

“He was a good guy,” said a co-worker, who did not give his name for publication. “I never thought he’d get into a struggle for the gun.”

Word spread quickly around the car dealerships in the area, which is considered to be a tight knit crew. Within five minutes other dealerships learned about the shooting and informed his family.

“I knew him for 15 years, when he had a fertilizer and window business. He always asked how’re doing. It’s a shame, he has two beautiful kids,” said Adam Kaslof, a friend. 



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