Hialeah Shooter Had Troubled Work History
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just days after a shooting rampage that killed six people and ended with his death; details into the life of Pedro Vargas, the man behind the Hialeah mass shooting, are beginning to emerge.
Funeral arrangements and vigils are still underway in Hialeah where one of the worst mass shootings in the city’s history took place at the hands of the 42-year-old Vargas.
Vargas killed six people in the five-story Hialeah apartment complex where he lived with his mother. He would take two hostages and barricade himself inside an apartment.
After an hours-long standoff, Hialeah Police sent in its SWAT team and gun shots rang out in the night. By the time the bullets stopped flying, the hostages were saved and Vargas was dead, but not without a fight.
“Not only was he firing, he was able to reload while being struck by the officers bullets and when he fell down he was still reaching for his gun so he still had a lot of fight in him,” said John Rivera with the Police Benevolent Association.
Tuesday, details emerged on Vargas past including the he was once an employee at Miami-Dade College. From 2004 to 2007, Vargas was a part-time employee at the college and worked full-time from 2007-2008.
During his employment at the college, supervisors became concerned about his performance which eventually forced Vargas to resign from the school.
According to Miami-Dade College, Vargas had issues with punctuality and inevitably the quality of his work was compromised, including adhering to deadlines and following orders.
Issues with Vargas’s employment eventually brought attention to several websites Vargas allegedly accessed during work hours that were deemed to be inappropriate by the school.
On December 10, 2008, Vargas was sent a “Notice of Final Action of Termination” from Miami Dade College via courier and regular US postal delivery to the address 1485 West 46th Street #408 in Hialeah—the same apartment building where five years later he would kill six innocent people.
In the letter, the College indicates the termination of Vargas’s employment due to several issues including “improper or unauthorized use of College property or equipment,” and “refusal to perform work as directed or willful neglect of duty,” among others.
The letter sent by the College goes into a thorough explanation into what led to the termination and resignation. It also included a detailed list of the files downloaded to Vargas’s desktop computer—including the dates and times. The files range from, “How to handle tough situations,” to “phone taps,” “Breaking into houses,” and “How to kill someone with your bare hands.”
On December 3, 2008, according to the letter, Vargas met with Elmo Lugo, the then Director of Media Services for the College’s North campus, and the Employee Relations Officer of Human Resources, Clive Bridges, where he was put on an administrative paid leave pending the College’s investigation of “downloaded or transferred (of) at least twenty-four files, of a personal nature, covering a variety of topics deemed to be inappropriate, to your desktop computer at the college.”
During the administrative leave, Vargas was told to “remain available to speak” with Clive Bridges, to which, the letter explains, he inevitably failed to adhere to those instructions—not answering emails or phone calls.
On December 4, 2008, written in the letter, Vargas sent an email to Bridges, subject “Letter clear false allegations,” where he denies allegations and states “Is (sic) clear that this is something built to smear my good name and reputation. I do not have any desire to work under such intoxicating environment that has been created in the department.”
Bridges responds to Vargas’s email about an hour later, confirming the response to the allegations, and scheduling a meeting with Vargas for the following Monday—even sending a follow-up email more than an hour after the previous one of the importance of Vargas’s attendance. If Vargas didn’t attend, the email states, “the College will have no other alternative but to proceed with closure to this matter based on the information at hand.”
Vargas, according to the letter, did not attend the meeting.
Vargas’s former supervisor, Elmo Lugo, described Vargas as an, “introverted private someone who always showed up on time always left on time and just did his work.”
Lugo formally held the position of the Director of Media Services at Miami-Dade College North.
After some changes in the department were made, Lugo said, Vargas became upset.
“He thought I was doing something personal to him,” Lugo explained.
A short time after the changes, Lugo and his wife started getting threatening texts and emails. One showed a photoshopped picture of Lugo.
“My head is decapitated and blood is coming out,” he explained.
Lugo suspects the threatening messages may have come from Vargas.
“I only suspected that it was him. It was never proven by any of the authorities that it was him,” said Lugo.
He may never know whether Vargas is responsible for those threats.