Funerals for Four Victims of Hialeah Shooting Held Thursday

Family members and friends said their final goodbyes to four of the victims of last week's shooting

By Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Aug 1, 2013  |  Updated 6:08 PM EDT
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Family and friends attend wakes for victims of the Hialeah shooting massacre. Emily Lindel, friend of Italo and Samira Pisciotti comments. Meanwhile, police release a 911 call made by shooter Pedro Vargas.

Family and friends attend wakes for victims of the Hialeah shooting massacre. Emily Lindel, friend of Italo and Samira Pisciotti comments. Meanwhile, police release a 911 call made by shooter Pedro Vargas.

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Family members and friends said their final goodbyes Thursday to four of the victims of last week's horrific Hialeah shooting.

The funerals of Italo and Samira Pisciotti, Merly Niebles and Pricilla Perez took place Thursday. The Pisciottis were laid to rest at 9:30 a.m. at Vista Memorial Gardens at 14200 Northwest 57th Avenue in Miami Lakes. Niebles and Perez were laid to rest at 2 p.m. at Dade South Memorial Park at 14200 Southwest 117th Avenue in Miami.

On Wednesday, family members paid their final respects to victim Carlos Gavilanes at a funeral at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hialeah. His uncle, Nivardo Diaz, remembered Gavilanes as “totally devoted” to his family.

Photos and Videos

Gov. Scott Honors Hialeah Police For Shooting Response

Florida Gov. Rick Scott thanked members of the Hialeah Police Department and SWAT team Wednesday for their efforts in rescuing the hostages of a gunman who killed six people before he was shot and killed by officers last week. SWAT team member Fernando Montalvo spoke about the night of the shootings.

Police Chief Discusses Rescue of Hostages

Knowing Pedro Vargas had hostages, police tried to talk him out of a fifth-floor apartment, Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velazquez said. But the SWAT team was ultimately forced to go in and rescue the hostages, he said.
More Photos and Videos

Interactive Timeline: Hialeah Shooting Rampage

"He was unbelievable,” said Diaz, who recalled weekend and holiday barbecues together. “He loved being with his family. He was always the life of the party and obviously we’re going to miss that about him.”

Police say Pedro Vargas, 42, shot and killed six people and held two others hostages, and opened fire on police officers before he was killed by SWAT team members during a violent standoff Friday at an apartment building in the 1400 block of West 46th Street.

Vargas had set $10,000 in cash on fire before the shooting spree and standoff that lasted until early Saturday, police said.

Hialeah Shooter 'Took His Motives to The Grave': Police

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Italo Pisciotti, 79, and Samira Pisciotti, 69, the husband and wife who managed the building where Vargas lived with his 83-year-old mother for the last 12 years, were killed, as were neighbor Perez, 17, her mother, Niebles and stepfather Patricio Simono, and Gavilanes, who was killed across the street.

Police haven't determined a motive in the shootings. On Wednesday, police released a 911 call from Vargas placed just hours before the shooting, in which the gunman said he was being harassed by someone using witchcraft against him.

Vargas, who police say had no criminal record, can be heard telling the dispatcher in Spanish that someone was following him and using witchcraft against him. He told the dispatcher he was suspicious of a car parked outside the apartment building that he knew did not belong to anyone living there.

Earlier Wednesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott thanked members of the Hialeah Police Department and SWAT team for their work rescuing the hostages.

"Your heart goes out to families, the individuals that were impacted, but also I just wanted to thank you for what you did, it can't be easy to put your lives at risk," Scott told the officers. "If it wasn't for individuals like you, we wouldn't have the safety we have."

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