Hialeah Shooting Victims Memorials This Week
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The families of the six people who died Friday when Pedro Vargas went on a shooting rampage at a Hialeah apartment building last Friday continue to make funeral arrangements.
The family of Carlos Gavilanes, who Vargas killed after he gunned down the building managers Italo and Samira Pisciotti, will hold a viewing for him Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the San Jose Funeral Home at 250 E. 4th Ave in Hialeah.
A funeral mass for Gavilanes will be held at John the Apostle Church, at 475 E 4th Avenue, on Wednesday at 11 a.m. followed by a burial at Miami Memorial Park.
A viewing for the Pisciottis will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Vista Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home, at 14200 NW 57th Avenue in Miami Lakes. A burial service will take place the following day at 9 a.m.
The mood at the five story Todal apartment complex where Vargas went on a shooting spree is still very somber. Cleaning crews spent the morning removing more items and debris from Varags’ fourth floor apartment.
Outside, Elsa Hernandez tidied up the rain soaked memorial which honored her six neighbors who died. She said the people who live there are still reeling from the violence, including children who are having trouble sleeping.
“(They say) I don’t want to stay here, I don’t want to stay here,” said Hernandez. “The people need help, the child need help.)
Cleaning crews began clearing out the debris from Vargas’ apartment on Monday. A reporter with El Nuevo Herald was allowed inside as they worked. Inside, they found shoes, weightlifting equipment, handwritten post it notes, bootlegged DVDs of popular television shows and movies.
Also among the scattered debris was old Miami Dade College employee badge that expired in 2007.
Vargas graduated from MDC with an associate’s degree in graphic design. He also worked there part-time in the media services department from 2004 to 2007, and full-time from 2007 to 2008, according to a statement from MDC spokesman Juan Mendieta.
“He was an introverted, private, someone who always showed up on time, always left on time and just did his work,” said Elmo Lugo who supervised Vargas at the school.
He said Vargas did not take it well when he made changes to the department.
“He thought I was doing something personal to him,” said Lugo.
Lugo said he and his wife started getting threatening texts and emails.
“(In one) my head is decapitated and blood is coming out,” said Lugo.
He suspects the messages may have come from Vargas who was ultimately forced to resign from the school for insubordination and for downloading inappropriate files to his work computer.
“During his full-time tenure, his supervisors became concerned about his performance, including his punctuality, adherence to deadlines, the quality of his work, and the following of orders, among other issues. When these issues persisted, it was also detected that on multiple occasions that Vargas accessed inappropriate websites during work hours” according to Mendieta’s statement.
Among the items download were files on computer hacking, the complete idiot’s guide to amazing sex, how to make a variety of bombs how to kill someone with your bare hands, electronic terrorism and how to break into houses.
Vargas denied downloading the content. In a letter to the school’s human resources director he wrote “The allegations in this paper are false they have been done arbitrarily are unclear vague and incompleate (sic) Is clear that I (sic) this is something built to smear my good name and reputation.”
Police have yet to determine what led to Vargas’ shooting spree.
Though several tenants in the five-story Todel Apartments had suggested that Vargas’ shooting spree began after he had been told he was going to be evicted, the building’s owner and the daughter of the building managers killed by Vargas said there was no truth to the rumor,
Funeral arrangements continue for Vargas’ victims; the Pisciottis, Patricio Simono, 64, his girlfriend, Merly Niebles, 51, and her 17-year-old daughter, Priscilla Perez.
The owners of the building complex where the shootings took place, as well as an anonymous donor, have agreed to pay the funeral costs.
The city of Hialeah has established a victims’ fund to help the families. Checks payable to Survivors Pathway can be sent to:
City of Hialeah
PO Box 138882
Hialeah, FL 33013.