Nightly News   |  July 27, 2013

Gunman kills 6 in Florida standoff

A police assault and a  volley of gunfire capped off a daring hostage rescue that freed two people Saturday near Miami, but not before their captor shot and killed six other people. NBC’s Mark Potter reports

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> people but not before their captor shot and killed six others. the drama began friday evening at an apartment building in high laya where police say a tenant shot and killed a couple during an argument and then randomly began firing at neighbors. captions paid for by nbc- universal television the confrontation between the gunman and a police swat team , much of it caught on tape. our mark polter is there tonight with more. mark, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, lester. behind me the hialeah apartment building where the shootings took place. they began last night and ended early this morning when police shot and killed the gunman holding hostages. one by one vans from the medical examiner's office left an apartment complex today with the body of six victims and the gunman who he shot his neighbors with a .9 millimeter handgun. the hours long ordeal began around 6:30 eastern last night when a building tenant identified as 42-year-old pedra alberto vargas used a liquid to set fire to his apartment. a husband and wife in their 60s and 70s to his apartment.

>> he came out the door, mr. vargas , and shot both of them several times killing them right at the scene.

>> reporter: the victim's daughter was nearby.

>> i heard about 15 to 20 shots, and so i went outside and my neighbors were screaming that my parents have been shot.

>> police say vargas then ran back through the smoke to his fourth floor balcony and fired ten to 20 more shots, killing a man across the street coming home from work.

>> the subject then ran out of his apartment, ran down to the third floor, kicked the door open of an apartment, and shot a man, his wife, and their 17-year-old daughter inside the apartment.

>> from there police say vargas ran through the building firing more shots, including an arriving police .

>> our main objective at that point was to neutralize an active shooter, and we tried and tried engaging him at first in the hallway, and he kept running from us as he fired at us and we fired at him.

>> reporter: finally after hiding out a while, the gunman broke into apartment 523, taking two hostages. police say they tried to negotiate a surrender, but that failed, and a swat team broke in and killed him. the flash is visible from the street below. the hostages were rescued unharmed, but shaken.

>> now, police say when he was killed, vargas still had a lot of ammunition that he could have used. they also say they're still trying to determine a motive and are looking into the possibility of a dispute between vargas and the building management . lester.

>> mark potter in high leal tonight for us. thank you.