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Fla. deputies arrest murder suspect after two-hour stand-off with SWAT

By Ani Martinez
The Miami Herald

A Lighthouse Point man was arrested Sunday and charged with killing his father earlier this month.

Broward Sheriff's Office detectives went to the apartment of Erin Kemal Atac, 27, to make the arrest Sunday, but he refused to come out.

Detectives called in a SWAT team and negotiators, and Atac came out after about two hours.

Ustun Atac, 65, was found dead in his Lauderdale-by-the-Sea home on Jan. 5. He was stabbed in the right ear, had chest wounds and cuts and bruises on his head, according to the affidavit.

Detectives obtained a warrant to arrest Erin Atac after interviewing him, his sisters, his mother and a business associate of his father's.

The investigation found that Atac had asked his father for money the morning of the murder, and that the father and son had been fighting, according to arrest documents.

"At this point it looks like the relationship was estranged," BSO spokesman Elliot Cohen said. "Apparently he had expressed an interest in a bigger role in his father's companies."


Ustun Atac was prominent in the local Turkish community. He came to the United States from Turkey, moving to Florida after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, friends told The Miami Herald.

He was a licensed general contractor and an engineer. Friends said he became a successful businessman, and recently had purchased the two-story motel where he was killed, along with other properties.

Atac owned more than 20 Broward companies, mostly in Pompano Beach, where he employed many members of the South Florida Turkish community, friends said.

"People in the Turkish community are missing him," said Halil Kaynatma, a friend of the murdered man. "He was always the first stop for people coming from Turkey. He gave them money or gave them a place to live. But now people are being let go. They aren't sure what is going to happen with the businesses."

Detectives went to arrest Erin Atac around 9 a.m. Sunday, but he barricaded himself in the bedroom of his apartment at 2100 NE 39th St. in Lighthouse Point.

Negotiators eventually talked him out, but in the meantime the Sunland Terrace apartment complex was evacuated.

He was being held Sunday night in Broward's main jail without bail.


Neighbors were surprised by Erin Atac's behavior.

"He was always so sweet," said neighbor Tracy Parsley. "I can't say anything bad about him. Whenever I needed anything for my apartment, he would do it himself."

Parsley said Atac helped with maintenance and collected rent money at the apartment complex, which was owned by his father.

But according to the arrest affidavit, Scott Eskew, Ustun Atac's business partner, said the father-and-son relationship had deteriorated in the past six to eight weeks because Atac stopped financially supporting his son.

"He worked for his father on and off, but hadn't worked for him for the last six months to a year," Kaynatma said. "His father gave him labor jobs and he may have expected an office job.

"It's terrible," he said. "He almost mutilated his body, so no one wanted to believe a son would do that to his father."

Copyright 2007 The Miami Herald

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