South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com Police report: Federal agent's death due to road rage Story and photos By Macollvie Jean-Francois, Brian Haas, Andrew Tran and Rachel Hatzipangos Sun-Sentinel.com 5:06 PM EDT, August 7, 2008 MIRAMAR A police report says today that U.S. border protection agent Donald Pettit died as the result of a road rage incident. The report said both Pettit and James Patrick Wonder, the man charged with his murder, exchanged obscene gestures with each other as they drove along Dykes Road Tuesday morning. The report said Wonder, 65, pulled into the Pembroke Pines post office first from Dykes Road. It said Pettit then pulled into the post office parking lot from Pines Boulevard. There, they argued some more, Wonder pulled a gun from his waistband, removed the safety and shot Pettit in the head, the report said. The report said police received two Crime Stoppers tips that pointed toward Wonder and that Wonder admitted to police he shot Pettit when questioned. Deputy Police Chief Mike Segarra said at a news conference this afternoon that he didn't know if Pettit had business at the post office or if he pulled in to talk to Wonder. He said the two men did not know each other. Wonder "was late to his appointment, rushing to his appointment, he was late for his dialysis," Segarra said. Meanwhile, neighbors of Wonder, who lives in Miramar, said said they were surprised today. Wonder "was a quiet guy, respectful," said Daniel Rizzi, 38. "No one saw this coming. Never saw a temper." Wonder has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Pettit. Pettit's 12-year-old daughter witnessed the slaying, police said. Wonder was taken to Memorial Regional West in Pembroke Pines after being questioned by police Wednesday night, said police spokesman Sgt. Bryan Davis. He was transferred to the Broward County Mail Jail this afternoon. Segarra said he was not sure of the reason for the hospitalization, but said it probably had something to do with why Wonder was at a Davie dialysis center on State Road 84 when he was caught Wednesday. Police said two things helped them catch Wonder: an anonymous tip and a detailed description of the shooter by Pettit's daughter. "The daughter was so instrumental," Segarra said Wednesday night. "She's a star. She's something else" Police arrested Wonder as he left the Universal Kidney Center of Davie in The Plaza shopping center, Segarra said. Segarra said Wonder was a patient at the dialysis center. The arrest ends a hunt that included more than 500 police officers from local, state and federal agencies, traffic roadblocks and the use of military Blackhawk helicopters. Rizzi said Wonder had recently started taking care of his wife's 92-year-old mother. "The last 12 years, I've never seen the guy argue with anyone," said Rizzi, who lives in the Silver Lakes neighborhood, less than 2 miles from Pettit's home. Another neighbor, Staci Hains, 41, said Wonder used to be a truck driver whose route usually took him to Orlando. Police said Pettit, an internal affairs agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was on-duty at the time and had his gun in his car. The shooting left Pettit's family reeling and begging for justice. He left behind another daughter, 15. "This man has destroyed my family and taken the love of my life," said his wife, Ileana Pettit, at a news conference before the arrest. Wonder has a concealed weapons permit, according to state records. He has been married for 30 years to Aurora Gonzalez. His relatives could not be reached to comment. The tip that sent police scrambling after the man sought in the agent's killing came before 2 p.m. Wednesday. Segarra said an anonymous caller said someone matching the killer's description was at the Davie kidney center. Police rushed there, shutting the plaza down. Segarra said Wonder left with police without incident. Donald Pettit spent 20 years in the Army and 15 years with the Food and Drug Administration. He became a border protection agent in January. Rene Rodriguez, 58, met Pettit in the early 1980s, when both men joined the U.S. Army. From homicides to larcenies, the two traveled the world cracking military cases as members of the service's Criminal Investigation Command. Besides a passion for golf and cigars, Rodriguez said Pettit's biggest love was his family. "I only had two friends in the whole world who I could talk to about anything," said Rodriguez, of Pompano Beach. "Don was one of them. Now, he's gone."