updated 10/18/2005 7:34:32 AM ET 2005-10-18T11:34:32

A Texas man who fled Hurricane Rita was shot and killed during an apparent robbery attempt while visiting relatives in Maryland, police said.

Alfredo Contreras, 48, his wife and two young sons left Beaumont on the Texas coast as Rita approached and stayed with relatives in North Carolina. He and his family were visiting relatives in Woodlawn when he was killed Sunday.

Police said Contreras heard a commotion outside a house and went to investigate. While trying to break up a fight between a friend and some unknown men, he was shot once in the upper body, police said.

“He was not out there when the initial fight started. He was coming to the aid of a friend,” said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a police spokeswoman.

But Contreras’ relatives told The (Baltimore) Sun that two men in black ski masks were trying to rob Contreras and his brother-in-law when relatives ran out to help.

“They panicked,” Viridiana Martinez, 16, who is Contreras’ stepdaughter, said of the masked men. “One of the guys pulled out a gun and shot Alfredo Contreras in the stomach.”

Police had no suspects in the shooting.

Last month, a man from Metairie, La., who fled from Hurricane Katrina, was gunned down in Chattanooga, Tenn., possibly during a robbery of his Red Cross relief money.

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