Voorhees NJ April 14 2012 As the doctor drove away from his large, well-manicured home in South Jersey Wednesday morning, his fancy cars, the bronze statue of smiling children on his lawn, and any hope of a normal life all faded from his rearview mirror.
Giocondo “Joe” Navek, 39, drove a little less than 20 miles from his home in Williamstown to a former colleague’s house, a fellow doctor on whom he had pinned his miseries. He planned to kill him, authorities say.
Navek, whose girlfriend had left him recently, waited outside Dr. Payman Houshmandpour’s home at The Club at Main Street, an upscale development in Voorhees, not far from where both men once worked together at Virtua Hospital.
When Houshmandpour, 32, left his home about 7:30 a.m. and got into his silver Audi in the parking lot, authorities say Navek pulled a gun and ended a bright future when he fired several shots into the driver-side window. Houshmandpour died at the scene.
“He’s a great guy, a great father, a very smart man,” Dr. Simon Boulattouf, who had worked with both men at Virtua, said of Houshmandpour. “I was actually seeing patients when I found out.”
The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said that Navek fled in a silver Nissan and was spotted by Voorhees police on nearby Centennial Boulevard. Officers pulled Navek’s vehicle over, approached the car, and ordered him to show his hands.
Navek didn’t respond, the prosecutor’s office said, and shot himself in the head. He died later at Virtua Hospital.
Houshmandpour and Navek were residents in the Virtua Family Medicine Residency Program. A Virtua spokeswoman said Houshmandpour still worked at several locations on medical/surgical rotations. Navek has not worked at Virtua for nearly 18 months.
Dr. Shoreh Sameni, a woman listed in property records as a resident of Navek’s home, is also listed as a participant in Virtua’s Family Medicine Residency Program. Authorities could not confirm whether Sameni was Navek’s former girlfriend. A woman named Farogh Mozaffari told the Associated Press that her daughter had broken up with Navek recently.
Mozaffari also said Navek blamed Houshmandpour for losing his job. She declined to comment when reached by the Daily News yesterday and other family members could not reached.
Boulattouf said that Navek was his intern at Virtua and that he had “issues at work that eventually led to his [dismissal].” Boulattouf said that one issue was with Houshmandpour, but he declined to elaborate.
“It was so many factors,” he said.
Neighbors near Navek’s home on Mulberry Lane said his girlfriend moved out several weeks ago with the couple’s young son, but they hadn’t noticed any trouble at the house prior to that.
“He just kind of kept to himself. He cut his lawn, stuff like that,” said neighbor Terrell Jones.
Jones said Navek liked nice cars and owned a Range Rover and a Mercedes. Navek once regularly posted about his custom Mercedes in online discussion forums.
“I just knew he was a doctor and a good person,” said neighbor Gladys Carr. “He used to help me shovel my snow.”
It was unclear where Navek had been working since leaving Virtua, although Jones said he saw him leave the house daily. One acquaintance declined to comment when reached by the Daily News, and family members in Philadelphia could not be reached.
The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said it was still investigating Navek’s actions and whereabouts before the shooting. At about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, investigators entered his home and went in and out for the next hour.
Houshmandpour leaves behind a wife and a young son.