HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – Family and friends of the victims killed in the Hialeah massacre will pay their final respects to their loved ones at a series of funerals this week.
On Tuesday night, a viewing was held for 33-year-old Carlos Gavilanes.
Those gathered at the San Jose Funeral Home in Hialeah used the phrase “family man” to describe Gavilanes on more than one occasion.
“He was a family man who pretty much lived for his own children,” Luis Melendez said.
His friend Roque Florez echoed that sentiment.
“He was a very good family man,” Florez told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “Always brought his kid around.”
They are both devastated their friend won’t be around to watch his two children, Carlitos and Victoria, grow up.
Gavilanes was one of six people killed when police say Pedro Vargas went on a shooting rampage at a Hialeah apartment building.
Gavilanes was across the street, but that wasn’t far enough to avoid the gunman’s deadly aim.
Witnesses said his dying words were ones of warning.
He told his son to run to safety.
“We lost a piece of our family, a piece of our heart,” Gavilanes’ sister Sherlly Ontiveros said.
Gavilanes’ hand-ball buddies showed their support by wearing matching t-shirts to the viewing.
“Carlos was very funny,” Florez said. “He’d come to the park and make us laugh.”
Florez said Gavilanes liked to play old-school music.
“For something like this to happen, it hits deep,” Melendez said.
The loss also hits deep for the families of the other five victims.
Funerals are planned throughout the week.
Vista Memorial Gardens has decided to cover the burial expenses for husband and wife Italo and Samira Pisciotti.
Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez said he plans to attend each service and pay tribute to the victims’ whose deaths have shaken his city to its core.
“It’s been very, very rough for us here in city of Hialeah. I’ve always said we’re a family,” Mayor Hernandez said. “We are mourning here in the city of Hialeah and we will for the next couple of days.”
Gavilanes’ funeral mass is planned for St. John the Apostle Catholic on Wednesday.
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.
Donations can also be made to Survivors Pathway. The funds will be dispersed among each of the affected families.
Checks should be made payable to Survivors Pathway.
Send checks to:
City of Hialeah
PO Box 138882
Hialeah, FL 33013