Florida Gunman Killed After Deadly Shooting Spree and Hostage Standoff [Updated]

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Miami-Dade morgue workers carry out a body out at the scene of a fatal shooting in Hialeah, Fla., Saturday, July 27, 2013. A gunman holding hostages inside the apartment complex killed six people before being shot to death by a SWAT team that stormed the building early Saturday following an hours-long standoff, police said. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Photo: Alan Diaz

A still unidentified gunman shot and killed the owners of his Hialeah, Florida apartment building, 78-year-old Italo Pisciotti and 68-year-old Samira Pisciotti, after reportedly arguing with the couple on Friday evening. He then began a shooting spree in the five-story South Florida apartment complex, located a few miles north of Miami, leaving another two men and two women dead, before barricading himself in a top-floor apartment and taking its two residents hostage. After several hours of failed negotiations early Saturday morning, the SWAT team on scene finally swarmed the apartment around 2 a.m., killing the gunman in an exchange of bullets. The two hostages survived. Residents are now being allowed back into their apartments as authorities try to figure out what set the suspect off.

Update: Police spokesman Carl Zogby identified the gunman as Pedro Vargas, a 43-year-old resident of the building who lived with his mother. Vargas apparently set fire to his apartment Friday evening and shot the Pisciottis when the came over to investigate. The AP reports that Vargas then went to his fourth-story balcony and fired ten to twenty shots in the street, killing a man who was parking a car outside. Vargas's neighbor Ester Lazcano, who lives two doors down described Vargas as a difficult person, known for yelling at his mother: "He was a good son. He'd take her in the morning to run errands," she said, adding, "He was a very abusive person. He didn't have any friends there."