MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Police have arrested the man they believe killed a mother and her son early Thursday morning.
Residents of the southwest Miami-Dade town home and condo complex where the two lived awoke to the sound of gunfire as two of their neighbors were shot to death in their home.
“It sounded like a war was going on,” neighbor J.C. Funes said. “It was like machine gun fire.”
The shooting happened around 4 a.m. at the Arbor Court condo complex at 14333 SW 97th Terrace.
“The sound was like bah, bah, bah, bah, bah,” said Yolanda Burgos. “Many. It’s not only one. It’s many.”
“It did sound like an assault not like a handgun. It was two rounds of five and one round of three,” said Gussie Flynn.
People who heard the gunfire said clearly it was not accidental.
“I believe I heard about 30 to 40 shots,” Claudio Piereck, a neighbor.
Piereck said he not only heard a shot gun, but also heard a machine gun.
One witness, who did not want to be identified, said she saw a man try to shoot through the front door. When he couldn’t gain entry that way, he went around to the sliding glass doors on the side of the home.
“He was waving his rifle that had a flashlight attached. I heard multiple gunshots again,” the witness said. “He fired off at the sliding glass door, then there was another pause and that’s I guess when he went upstairs and killed the mother and the son.”
A resident called 911 to report the multiple gunshots and a man who drove off in a hurry.
Off-duty officers that live within the community, according to Miami-Dade Police Department, were awakened by the gunfire and immediately responded to the area to assist in the search for the subject.
Callers were able to give responding police a description of the man and his car.
Two people were found murdered inside their town home. Friends and neighbors identified them as Anthony Sikora and his mother Gale Sikora. Friends say Anthony was a student Miami-Dade College and his mother was an RN in case management at Baptist hospital.
“Our hearts go out to Gale’s family and colleagues. She was a wonderful employee and we are very saddened by this tragedy,” Baptist Hospital Chief Operating Officer Randy Lee said in a statement.
“They’re very nice people, quiet,” said Flynn. “This is a quiet community, never any problems.”
A car matching the description given to police was spotted three blocks away from the condo complex. The driver was taken into custody. Officers also recovered at least one firearm and three ammunition clips.
Police charged Ronnie Candelaria, 21, with two counts of first degree murder and one county armed robbery after extensive interviews Thursday.
Officials confiscated an AK-74 that belongs to Candelaria and a Glock handgun that belonged to the mother.
Detectives also search his home, which is just a few blocks away from the crime scene, Thursday night.
Neighbors in Candelaria’s community told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana police are often called to the home where the young man lives with his parents. They say the family does not get along well with others on their block.
According to investigators, Candelaria and Anthony Sikora were friends. Candelaria also stated that voices in his head told him to do it, indicating mental illness may have played a role in the crime.
A close friend of the victims said Anthony Sikora had recently been trying to stay away from a friend who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and who would brag about his guns.
“This could’ve been something that perhaps had been going on previous days before within the relationship,” said Miami-Dade police spokesman Det. Alvaro Zabaleta.
A family friend and neighbor told CBS4’s Natalia Zea that Anthony Sikora used to be in with the wrong crowd when younger but has since turned around and had been a nice young man in recent years. He added that Gale Sikora was a single mother and has lived in the condo with her son for about 13 years.
Another friend says Anthony’s father died when he was just three-years-old. She said Anthony was shy and mostly kept to himself.