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July 27, 2013 — Hialeah

Pedro Alberto Vargas, 42, called 911, claiming that he was being followed and that he was the victim of sorcery.

His mother said that Vargas had left to buy gasoline, but that he needed a mental evaluation. Vargas returned hours later with the gas and used it to set alight a bag of money he had withdrawn from his savings.

The smoke drew landlords Italo and Samira Pisciotti, 79 and 69. Vargas shot them dead. He began firing indiscriminately into the street, killing Carlos Gavilanes, 33. Read more

He then kicked in the door of apartment 304 and killed Patricio Simono, 64, Simono's girlfriend, Merly Niebles, 51, and her daughter, Priscilla Perez, 17.

Vargas moved to apartment 523, where he took Sarrida and Zoeb Nek hostage. Police negotiated with him for four hours, during which he took pot shots at them. Negotiations broke down around 2 a.m. and a six-member SWAT team was sent in to rescue the hostages.

Vargas was killed in the gunfight. There was no obvious motive for the killings.

Vargas had admitted to harassing former co-workers and police believed that he would have killed a lawyer handling the investigation of the threatening emails but the man was not in his office when Vargas went there before returning home with the gas. He may also have had a grudge against the landlords.

This was the 80th police shooting in Florida in 2013.

The same day, two officers shot one person in Warrington .

Two days later, one officer shot one person in Bonita Springs .

5 ways this case compares to others

  1. Vargas was shot after killing someone. Just five percent of shootings started with a homicide.
  2. Vargas fired shots at police, which happened in 15 percent of shootings.
  3. A SWAT or tactical team was involved in the incident. Tactical teams are involved in 7 percent of police shootings.
  4. Vargas was armed with a firearm. That’s true of almost half the people shot.
  5. Vargas showed signs of mental instability. Almost a third of all shootings involved someone who appeared mentally unstable.

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