Gunman shot dead after killing six in Miami apartment block

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 July, 2013, 8:21am


A gunman holding hostages inside an apartment block in America killed six people before being shot dead by a police commando team that stormed the building early yesterday following an hours-long stand-off.

Police got a call at 6.30pm on Friday that shots had been fired in a building with dozens of apartments in Hialeah, just north of Miami, Florida.

Sergeant Eddie Rodriguez said that when police arrived, they discovered an "active shooter situation".

"He's inside the building, moving from floor to floor. Eventually he barricades himself in an apartment," he said.

A crisis team was able to briefly establish communication with the man. Rodriguez said negotiators and a special weapons team tried talking with him from the other side of the door of an apartment where he was holding two hostages.

But the talks eventually "just fell apart". Officers stormed the building, fatally shooting the gunman in an exchange of gunfire. Both hostages survived.

Rodriguez said police discovered a man and a woman shot dead in the hallway in front of one unit. Three more, a male and two females, were found shot and killed in another apartment on a different floor. Another man who was walking his children into an apartment across the street was also killed.

Rodriguez said it wasn't immediately clear whether the gunman took aim at him from an upper-level balcony or if he was hit by a stray bullet.

Miriam Valdes, 70, lives on the top floor - one floor above where the shooting began.

Valdes said she could hear about eight officers talking with the gunman. She heard the officers tell him to "let these people out". She said they told him: "We're going to help you."

The gunman first asked for his girlfriend and then his mother, but refused to co-operate.