Orlando, FL – 17 May 2017 – Paul Gren was a controversial figure in Orlando. He was known for having harsh policies at his business, the Tow Truck Company, that led to many angry drivers. But friends say they never thought one would take his life.
Tremain Polk, 35, was arrested on first-degree murder and burglary charges.
Gren’s longtime friend KC Jones was saddened to hear of the tragic news. “He was a really nice guy,” Jones said.
Gren used to own Ultraviolet nightclub in Orlando in the 1990s, Jones said. He also owned another downtown club called the Crow Bar.
Jones described Gren as “ruthless” when it came to towing. “You almost have to be,” he said.
Over the years, Gren received scores of complaints from angry drivers who accused him of predatory towing, which led the city of Orlando to revise its towing regulations in 2008.
He was accused of booting vehicles that still had people inside, once even booting a Coca-Cola truck that was making a delivery.
Rep. Bob Cortes, R-Altamonte Springs, who used to own a towing company, said in a statement that “this murder hits very close to home and reminds us how fragile life is … No business owner should have to die like this.”
The deadly incident started about 6 p.m. Tuesday, when Polk stopped at the Tow Truck Company to pick up his vehicle.
Polk only had $135, and he became upset when employee Erica Hicks told him his bill was $285, according to police.
Hicks said he tried to push his way into the office but stopped after she told him she would call the police.
Police say Polk is captured on a surveillance camera jumping a chain-link fence into the yard. He smashed the windows of three cars, then got into his car and drove toward a closed bay door, police said.
Hicks told police Gren had a gun in his hand but held it by his side and never raised it.
According to Hicks, Polk said he just wanted to leave and started to walk away.
“She described how Polk took ‘two steps’ inside the door, turned around toward Gren, took a gun from his waistband, and fired three shots at Gren from point-blank range,” the arrest affidavit said.
The shooting was not captured on video, but Hicks was on the phone with dispatchers when shots were fired, police said.
Officers responded and found Gren, who was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Polk fled and was arrested a short time later. His gun was recovered.
He has been previously arrested on charges including homicide, attempted robbery, attempted second-degree murder of a law-enforcement officer, aggravated battery and burglary in records dating back to 1997, court documents show. Details about the outcomes in all the charges were not available Wednesday.
Polk was released from prison in 2012. He’s currently being held in the Orange County Jail.
Source: Orlando Sentinel