HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – Hialeah remains a city in mourning almost a week after a gunman’s brutal rampage left six victims dead.
By Wednesday night, one of those victims, Carlos Gavilanes, had been buried.
An online fund has been established to help his family. The site is giveforward.com/fundraiser/xgs2/carlos-gavilanes-fund
Organizers have already raised more than $6,000 to be donated to Gavilanes’ long-time girlfriend and their children.
Gavilanes’ hand-ball teammates said they plan to host a memorial game at Sunset Park on August 10th.
Viewings for four others, Italo and Samira Pisciotti, Merly Niebles and Priscilla Perez were held Wednesday evening.
Tears were flowing and hugs were shared by hundreds of mourners.
At Vista Memorial Gardens, friends and family of Italo Pisciotti and his wife Samira overflowed into the funeral home’s parking lot.
“There’s a lot of people crying there,” Omar Otero said. “I’m pretty sure you’re going to see more than a thousand people because everybody knew him. He was just great.”
State Senator Rene Garcia attended the viewing for the Pisciottis, too.
“I’m here to express my support for the family, to let them know that they’re not alone,” Sen. Garcia told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana “To let them know that this community is standing behind them, and so is the state of Florida.”
At another funeral home, loved ones honored Merly Niebles and Priscilla Perez, a mother and daughter killed when police say Pedro Vargas peppered his neighborhood with bullets.
“She had such a beautiful future ahead of her,” Hannah Jelen said of her friend Priscilla. “Now there’s nothing, just to commemorate her and who she was and how she smiled.
Carlos Gavilanes’ young son was one of the pallbearers at his funeral Wednesday.
Witnesses said the boy watched his father die.
“We’re closing the final chapter of this tragedy for our family,” Gavilanes’ uncle, Nivardo Diaz, said. “Obviously it doesn’t end here. We still remember Carlos and we feel his loss tremendously.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott took time Wednesday morning to meet with the first responders who put their lives on the line during the Hialeah massacre.
Gov. Scott went to Hialeah City Hall and met with Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velazquez and shook the hands of all the SWAT team members.
“I just want to thank you for what you did,” said Governor Scott.
They were the first responders who made entry into the Hialeah apartment where Pedro Vargas was holding two people hostage at gunpoint.
Those SWAT team members shot and killed Vargas even as he was shooting at them and reloading his weapon. The governor spoke of the bravery of the SWAT team members and also the loss of life.
“Can’t be easy. You put your lives at risk. If it wasn’t for individuals like you, we wouldn’t have the safety we have. People wouldn’t want to come here as tourists, our families wouldn’t want to live here. So I just want to tell you from the bottom of my heart, thank you. The fact that every day you show up you have no idea what’s going to happen. We can’t imagine and I hope nothing like this ever happens again,” said Gov. Scott.
He went on to say that his heart goes out to those who died in the rampage.
Donations to help the families of those who died can be made to Survivors Pathway. Checks should be made payable to Survivors Pathway.
Send checks to:
City of Hialeah
PO Box 138882
Hialeah, FL 33013