Confession, DNA evidence lead to arrest in fatal stabbing of army vet


GIFFORD — A tearful confession, DNA evidence and surveillance footage led deputies to arrest a murder suspect who they said killed an army veteran and stole his belongings earlier this year. Eugene “Gene” Bain, 65, admitted to detectives that he repeatedly stabbed a man sleeping outside of Stone Brothers Funeral Chapel before walking off with his scooter, backpack and cell phone, Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said.

“(Bain) was in the hospital in tears,” said Flowers, who mentioned that Bain was hospitalized for unrelated health issues. “(Bain) said ‘I have to get this off my conscious’ and admitted it.”

Flowers spoke during a news conference Wednesday at the sheriff’s office, where he identified the victim as David Schultz, a 73-year-old homeless man who slept under an awning at the funeral chapel before the attack. The sheriff played a surveillance video that showed Bain walking off with Schultz’s items after the stabbing.

“(Schultz) didn’t deserve this. He wasn’t bothering anybody,” Flowers said. “We’re going to bring him justice.”

Video provided by Indian River County Sheriff’s Office

Schultz, a father and brother who went by the nickname “Hippie Dave” in the community, had permission from Stone Brothers Funeral Chapel to sleep outside of the building because he was neat and orderly, the sheriff said.


A Stone Brothers Funeral Chapel representative, who did not want to be named, said Schultz was a good friend of the chapel.

“We’re devastated that it happened,” the representative said. “(Schultz) was not just a homeless person. He was a veteran. He had children. He had a motorcycle. He was like family to us.”

Deputies said they believe the homicide occurred in the evening on Jan. 15. A patrol deputy spotted Schultz’s body on the ground with several stab wounds just after midnight the next day.

It was unclear if Schultz and Bain, who was also homeless, knew each other.

Deputies arrested Bain on Tuesday on charges of murder, burglary with assault and battery, grand theft of a motor vehicle and tampering with or destroying evidence. Bain, who remained hospitalized Wednesday, will be booked into the county jail after his release, Flowers said.

Bain was initially arrested on charges of trespassing and failure to register as a career criminal one day after the deadly attack, Flowers said. The sheriff said deputies found Bain inside an old packing house on Old Dixie Highway, not far from the funeral chapel.


“We found Bain with the victim’s cell phone in his hands. Throughout the day that cell phone was moving around in the Gifford area,” Flowers said. “We finally pinned him down inside a locked room. We made entry and were able to take him into custody.”

Flowers said deputies believe Bain is connected to more crimes, including a cold case homicide that occurred in Indian River County. Further details on that case were not immediately available.

The sheriff said Bain, who spent six years in prison for burglary, was out for 33 days before his initial arrest on Jan. 16.

“Throughout the course of his life he’s done 13 prison stints, convicted of 21 felonies,” Flowers said.

The investigation

Schultz wore an army shirt and hat and wrapped himself in a small blanket as he slept outside of Stone Brothers Funeral Chapel on Jan. 15 in the 3900 block of Old Dixie Highway. Shortly after midnight, a patrol deputy went to the funeral chapel and spotted Schultz’s body.

The deputy pulled back the blanket and found Schultz with multiple stab wounds. Flowers said Bain had taken Schultz’s cell phone, bag and rode off on his scooter.

“We realized a theft had occurred,” Flowers said. “(Schultz’s) scooter was found on the other side of U.S. 1. Schultz’s identification and wallet were strewn about on the opposite side of U.S. 1. His phone was missing.”

Flowers said Bain drove the scooter eastbound across the street and left it there.

“He took all of (Schultz’s) belongings, drove away, went through everything and left the scooter behind,” Flowers said. Then, Bain walked westbound back across U.S. 1.

Surveillance footage captured Bain walking and wearing Schultz’s backpack on his front side and carrying Schultz’s cell phone, deputies said. The sheriff said Bain eventually discarded the backpack, which deputies have yet to find.

Flowers said detectives did grid searches to track Schultz’s phone, leading them to find Bain at an old packing house.

“The phone is what ultimately got us to him,”

Bain denied involvement with Schultz’s murder, Flowers said. Deputies took DNA from underneath Bain’s fingernails and sent it off to the Indian River Crime Lab.

Deputies recently obtained the results.

“When Bain stabbed and killed him, Schultz’s blood got underneath Bain’s fingernails,” Flowers said. “Hopefully we’ll get him to confess to other crimes he was involved in.”

There have been four homicides to occur this year within Indian River County, with arrests being made for each case. Flowers commended deputies for their work to collect enough evidence to arrest Bain in the county’s first murder case for 2024.

“Our team is firing on all cylinders – from the real time crime center, to our forensics team, everybody collecting the (surveillance) video to be able to prove this case,” Flowers said. “We’re not making new cold cases. We’re solving the old ones and knocking out the new ones that come up along the way.”

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