2013 Hialeah shooting

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2013 Hialeah shooting
Miami-Dade County Florida Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Hialeah Highlighted.svg
Location of Hialeah within Florida.
Location 1485 West 46th Street, Hialeah, Florida, U.S.
Date July 26–27, 2013
c. 6:30 p.m.-c. 2:30 a.m.
Attack type
Mass murder, massacre, arson, shootout
Weapon(s) Glock 17 9mm semiautomatic pistol[1]
Deaths 7 (including the perpetrator)
Perpetrators Pedro Alberto Vargas
Motive Unknown[2]

On July 26, 2013, a mass shooting occurred at an apartment complex in Hialeah, a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Seven people, including the shooter, were killed in the incident. The shooter was identified by police as 42-year-old Pedro Alberto Vargas, a resident of Hialeah, who, after setting his apartment ablaze, opened fire from his balcony and inside the apartment, then held two people hostage before being fatally shot by a SWAT team on the early hours of July 27.[3] It was the deadliest mass shooting in Hialeah's history,[4] as well as the deadliest in the entire Miami area in three decades.[5]

The shooting[edit]

According to officials, Vargas poured combustible liquid on $10,000 of cash and set it on fire in his fourth-floor apartment at around 6:30 p.m.[6][7][8] The building's manager, 79-year-old Italo Pisciotii, and his 69-year-old wife Camira noticed the smoke and ran to the apartment, to which Vargas stepped into the hallway and shot and killed the couple with a Glock 17 9mm semiautomatic pistol.[1][3][9][10] He proceeded to go his balcony on the fourth floor of the building and fired 10 to 20 bullets into the street, fatally hitting 33-year-old Carlos Gavilanes as he got out of his car.[3][9][10]

Vargas then kicked open the door of apartment 304, where he shot and killed the residents, 64-year-old Patricio Simono, his 51-year-old wife Merly Niebels, and their 17-year-old daughter Priscilla Perez;[9][10][11][12] Priscilla Perez was reportedly shot while she was hiding inside a bathtub.[13] Police officers responded to the scene and exchanged gunfire with Vargas throughout the complex.[14] Vargas then entered another apartment on the fifth floor where he took two people hostage for about three hours. After negotiations reportedly broke down, a SWAT team entered the building and fatally shot Vargas after a brief shootout; the two hostages escaped unharmed.[8][9][10][14]


  • Italo Pisciotii, 79 (building manager, killed in a hallway)
  • Camira Pisciotii, 69 (wife of Italo Pisciotii, killed in a hallway)
  • Carlos Javier Gavilanes, 33 (killed on the street)
  • Patricio Simono, 64 (killed in apartment 304)
  • Merly S. Niebles, 51 (wife of Patricio Simono, killed in apartment 304)
  • Priscilla Perez, 17 (daughter of Patricio Simono and Merly Niebles, killed in apartment 304)

The perpetrator[edit]

The shooter was identified as 42-year-old Pedro Alberto Vargas, a Cuban native. According to records, he resided in the apartment complex with his mother and had committed no serious criminal offenses. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1997 and was naturalized in 2004.[15][16] Neighbors described Vargas as a quiet man who commonly got into arguments with his mother in their apartment.[7][17] According to several LA Fitness customers, Vargas frequented the local gym and often lifted weights as a way to channel out pent-up anger. He also used steroids, expressed frustration at bad experiences with women, and was noticeably antisocial.[14] The Glock 9mm pistol used in the shooting was legally purchased by Vargas.[6][15]


Following the incident, Mayor Carlos Hernandez responded, "I'm torn apart. We've never had something so complex as we had last night.... It's an extremely sad day in Hialeah."[10] In the wake of the shooting, some citizens of Hialeah took to Twitter to express their concerns about safety in the city.[18] On July 28, 2013, Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization that was formed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, issued a statement about the shooting, saying, "Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not. Sending prayers and condolences to the victims and families of the Hialeah, Florida mass shooting."[19]


  1. ^ a b Watkins, Tom (July 27, 2013). "No explanation for Florida shooting rampage that leaves 7 dead". CNN. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ Zachary Fagenson (July 29, 2013). "Motive a mystery in Miami area mass shooting". Reuters. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Diaz, Alan (July 27, 2013). "Florida hostage standoff: Man sets fire to Hialeah apartment complex killing six while holding two others at gunpoint". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Pedro Vargas ID'd as gunman behind deadly rampage in Hialeah, Florida". CBS News. July 27, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ Kevin Gray (July 30, 2013). "Miami gunman downloaded computer files on explosives, sex". Reuters. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Litz, Steve; Finch, Justin; DoCampo, Claudia (July 28, 2013). "Shooter Set $10,000 on Fire in Hialeah Shooting Rampage". NBC Miami. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Armario, Christine (July 27, 2013). "Florida Shooting: 7 Dead In Hialeah Apartment Shootout, Including Gunman (VIDEO, PHOTOS)". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Armario, Christine (July 28, 2013). "Neighbors describe different sides of Fla. gunman". Yahoo! News. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d Litz, Steve; Finch, Justin; DoCampo, Claudia (July 27, 2013). "Shooter Set $10,000 on Fire in Hialeah Shooting Rampage". NBC Miami. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Mueller, Benjamin (July 27, 2013). "Gunman in Florida apartment shooting lived in building, started fire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (July 27, 2013). "Hialeah shooting victims' families grapple with senseless loss". Miami Herald. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Pedro Vargas ID'd as gunman behind deadly rampage in Hialeah, Florida". CBS News. July 27, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ McCormack, David (July 27, 2013). "Gunman who killed six at apartment complex hunted down 17-year-old girl and shot her while she hid in the bathtub". DailyMail. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c Christine Armario (July 28, 2013). "Fla. apartment gunman described as lonely, angry". Yahoo! News. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Motive for Florida shooting rampage unknown: police". Voice of Russia. July 28, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ "7 personnes tuées dans une fusillade en Floride" (in French). ArcInfo. July 28, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ Armario, Christine (July 27, 2013). "Pedro Vargas, Florida Apartment Shooting Gunman, Had Different Sides, Neighbors Say (PHOTOS, VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ "#HialeahShooting Twitter Trend". Twitter. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  19. ^ "A message from Newtown to Hialeah in wake of mass shooting: 'Our hearts are broken'". Miami Herald. July 28, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013.