, Florida, Jul 28 – Six people were shot to death in a shootout in an apartment building near the US city of Miami that ended early Saturday when police killed the suspect, police said.
Authorities said there was gunfire on several floors of the Hialeah building before the suspect decided to hunker down in an apartment, taking the couple inside hostage.
His motive was not immediately known, police spokesman Sergeant Eddie Rodriguez said, adding “six innocent people died and also the suspect who initiated this situation.”
Rodriguez said the incident began at 6:30 pm Friday and ended at 2:30 am Saturday when a police SWAT team moved into the building and into the apartment where the suspect was holed up.
“The pair of hostages did not know the suspect and tried for hours to negotiate with him to surrender,” Rodriguez said, adding when the suspect continued to refuse, “police had to act.”
The two hostages, a man and a woman, were uninjured. But among the dead were an elderly couple identified by their daughter as Colombians Italo and Samira Pisciotti. Rodriguez said they were the building’s landlords.
Shamira Pisciotti said her parents had gone “to see a tenant who made a complaint, and it seems there was an altercation.
“The person started shooting,” she told Spanish-language news channel Univision.
“I saw my mama. She died the moment she was shot,” Pisciotti said, adding she heard 15 to 20 shots in total.
Authorities are still working to identify the rest of the victims.
The building in the mainly Cuban-populated city of Hialeah housed around 90 families. It is not yet confirmed whether the suspect lived there.
Florida has the most permissive gun laws in the United States, and, according to a state report, in December 2012, the state had more than a million permits to carry concealed weapons.