Owner of G&D in Mexico mourned

Police have identified two “persons of interest” in Komninos “Gus” Karellas’ death.
Thursday, November 18, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:37 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Police are searching for two individuals in connection with the robbery and death of Komninos “Gus” Karellas, 60, owner of G&D Steak House in Mexico, Mo.

Lance Lee Berry and Quinton O’Neal Canton Jr., were identified as “persons of interest” by Lt. Bob Welliver, who is in charge of the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad.

“The Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad has approximately 25 officers assisting with the investigation in Mexico,” Welliver said from the steps of Mexico’s City Hall. Welliver emphasized that all persons are innocent until proven guilty.

Police responded to a report of a robbery at G&D Steak House shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, where they found Karellas shot outside of his restaurant.

Karellas was taken by ambulance to the Audrain Medical Center’s emergency room, where he was pronounced dead.

Joanne Monaco, who is engaged to Karellas’s son, Michael, said at a press conference Wednesday that the family is grateful for the support they have received from the community.

“The family is asking that people pray for his sons, his daughter, his wife and all the family he left behind,” Monaco said.

Looking at the throng of reporters surrounding her, Monaco said her fiance’s father wouldn’t have liked all the fuss.

“Michael used to joke and call him ‘Governor Gus’ because when people came into the restaurant, everybody knew him,” Monaco said. “He brought a smile to everyone he met.”

Karellas’ longtime friend George Godas, who owns George’s Pizza on Business Loop 70 in Columbia, said Karellas was like a brother.

“He was my best friend,” Godas said. “There was no better person.”

Godas recalled speaking to Karellas at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, only hours before Karellas was shot.

“I’ve been crying all day,” Godas said. “It hurts so bad.”

Joe Miller, an insurance salesman who frequents G&D Steak House on his business trips, said the news of Karellas’ death came unexpectedly.

“I was just surprised, shocked and heartbroken to hear over the radio what happened,” Miller said.

Miller said he remembers Karellas for his personality and humor. He also recalled a period when he didn’t visit the restaurant for more than eight years.

“When I walked back in after all that time, he remembered me right away,” Miller said. “He was just a joy to be around.”

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