MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Grieving relatives appealed for the community’s help Monday after a father of three children was gunned down in Miami during an apparent robbery.

“I really had a close relationship with him. It hurts because of this tragedy in our lives,” said Susana Irias, whose 41-year-old father Wilmer Irias lost his life late Friday night.

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“He meant a lot to me,” Irias told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “Besides God he was the second person who I loved most.”

Veteran Miami Police homicide detective Confesor Gonzalez called Irias a “totally innocent victim.”

Gonzalez said Irias had been at the Marlins Café and Sports Grill on the corner of S.W. 17th Ave. and S.W. 5th St. and was walking to his car when he got into a struggle and was shot and killed.

It happened in front of an apartment building at 1634 S.W. 5th St. Irias was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Mr. Irias was minding his own business when he was accosted,” said Gonzalez.

Click here to WATCH CBS4’s Peter D’Oench’s report

“We believe the motive was possibly robbery. The gunman fled on foot. Mr. Irias had frequented this business for 10 years.”

Gonzalez said “Mr. Irias was a totally innocent victim who did nothing to contribute to his demise in any way, shape or form other than any of us would walking to our cars. Getting this man off the street would bring closure to the family and what’s of utmost importance to us is getting a violent offender off the street. That’s equally important.”

Susana Irias said of her father, “He was a strong man who was loved by his brothers and sisters very well. He supported us. He was a hard working man. He didn’t like to find problems. He would run away from problems.”

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Irias worked in construction and police say he would go to the Marlins Café and Sports Grill after work. Detectives have gone door-to-door, circulating flyers about the homicide.

“It would mean a lot to me to find the person who did this,” said Susana Irias. “I would like to find out why this happened.”

“If anyone knows anything, please speak out,” she said. “Don’t stay quiet because if it could happen to my dad, it could happen to anyone else. So please speak out. This is very painful.”

Irias and his family had come to South Florida from Honduras.

His sisters said they thought South Florida would be safer. But they also told Irias that Miami was a “tough town” and said they warned him to be careful.

Detective Gonzalez said “We are looking for a latin male, who is five-feet-eight to six-feet tall, with short hair, wearing a baseball cap, light colored clothing and he has a medium build and is clean shaven. He has a medium to light complexion.”

Gonzalez said police were trying to see if there was any useful surveillance tape.

There’s a reward of up to $3,000.

Anyone with information should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).


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Peter D'Oench