CENTREVILLE, Va. (WUSA) -- Family members who witnessed the murder of their handyman, 39-year-old Jose Rosales, say he was a hero.
"We believe Jose Rosales was sent here. He was our guardian angel," says a resident of the home who was there when two would-be robbers pointed a gun at them Monday morning. The resident says Jose did not panic and grabbed the older suspect's gun. That's when Rosales was shot and killed.
Rosales has worked for the Centreville family for about a year. He lived in Manassas but saved money to send home to Guatemala, where his wife and two children live.
"He's a very good guy. He's a very hard worker and was sending money home to his family. I don't understand why this happened," said Guillermo Torres, who rented a room to Rosales.
Police say the older suspect was called "Slim" by the younger one. "Slim" was the gunman, police say, who spoke in a thick, raspy voice and used many expletives.
Police believe they may have gotten away in an older model, white Toyota pick up truck with very dark, tinted windows. A witness told police he saw someone get into the pick up's bed and pull a tarp over his himself. The witness saw the truck drive eastbound on Compton Road, towards Union Mill Road.
Police say they were called at 10:43 a.m. Monday, for the report of a person shot, in the 14200 block of Compton Road.
"They're very nice people. I'm sorry this happened at their home," said Gabriella Dorado, who runs Chicken A La Brassa in the shopping center the family owns.
Police believe the shooting was the result of an attempted robbery and said the suspects tried to enter the home through the garage. They were confronted there by one or more occupants of the home, and there was an argument. Rosales was shot and died of his injuries.
Other occupants of the home witnessed the argument, if not the shooting itself, and provided investigators some descriptions of the suspects.
Police described the suspects as two black males, one lighter-skinned with a mustache and beard, and one darker-skinned with a goatee. Both are believed to be in their 20's, both about 5'10" tall, and both wearing dark clothing. They were last seen running from the scene, through a wooded area near Compton Road. Police searched the area, using bloodhounds, but at this point the suspects are still at large.
Police said they didn't believe anything was taken in the robbery attempt.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, or email at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org, or text "TIP187" and your message to CRIMES/274637. You can also call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
Written by Peggy Fox
9NEWS NOW and wusa9.com