Florida gunman spoke of his anger
HIALEAH, Fla. — The gunman who went on a shooting rampage at his South Florida apartment building, killing six people, was a lonely man who spoke about having pent-up anger, those who knew him said on Sunday.
Pedro Vargas, 42, lived on the fourth floor of a barren, concrete apartment complex in the Miami suburb of Hialeah with his elderly mother. He rarely spoke with others there and confided to a man who worked out at the same gym that he liked to work out his anger by lifting weights and trying to get big.
“He'd just say this was the only thing that would keep him normal, pulling out all the anger in the gym,” Jorge Bagos said.
Bagos said the gunman was frustrated by bad experiences with women and the loss of all of his hair from using steroids.
On Friday night, Vargas set a combustible liquid on fire in his apartment, sending the unit into flames, police said. Building manager Italo Pisciotti and his wife went running toward the smoke. Vargas opened his door and shot and killed both of them, said Lt. Carl Zogby, a Hialeah police spokesman.
Vargas went back into his apartment and began firing from his balcony. One of the shots killed Carlos Javier Gavilanes, 33, who neighbors said was returning home from his son's boxing practice.
Vargas then stormed into a third-story apartment, where he shot and killed a family of three: Patricio Simono, 64; Merly Niebles, 51; and her 17-year-old daughter.
For eight hours, police followed and exchanged gunfire with Vargas throughout the five-story apartment complex as terrified residents took cover in bathrooms and huddled with relatives.
In the final hours, Vargas took two people captive in a fifth-story unit. Police attempted to negotiate with him, but the talks fell apart, and a SWAT team swarmed in, killing Vargas and rescuing both hostages.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Florida church bus crash kills 8
- Appalachian miners wiped out by coal glut they can’t reverse
- H5N2 flu strain found in Kansas chicken, duck flock
- Indiana governor defends religious objections bill signed into law
- Excessive use of solitary found for juveniles in Baltimore jail
- Mysteries of dark matter come to light in Science study
- Christie rails against high N.J. estate tax
- Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property
- Drownings in Rio Grande spike as enforcement surges
- Girl, 10, killed in Youngstown blaze was linked to rape case
- Obama vetoes union election bill; streamlined election process to move forward