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Monday May 25th, 2015 1:22AM

Gunman among 7 dead after Fla. apartment shootout

By The Associated Press
HIALEAH, FLA - A gunman holding hostages inside a South Florida 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.

Sgt. Eddie Rodriguez told The Associated Press that police got a call around 6:30 p.m. EDT Friday that shots had been fired in a building with dozens of apartments in Hialeah, just a few miles north of Miami.

Although a crisis team was able to briefly establish communication with the man, Rodriguez said talks eventually "just fell apart" with the gunman, who was holding two hostages on the fifth floor. Both of them survived when officers stormed the building, fatally shooting the gunman during an exchange of gunfire.

"They made the decision to go in there and save and rescue the hostages," he said.

The dead bodies of three women and two men were found at two different apartment units inside the building, which Rodriguez said was in a "very quiet neighborhood." Another man who was walking his children into an apartment across the street also was 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.

"From up there, he was able to shoot at people across the street, catching this one man who was just walking into his apartment," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said police were still investigating the motive and identifying the gunman and victims.

"Investigators are talking with families of the victims, neighbors, people that were present when all this began," he said. "That way we can start to piece together this huge puzzle that we're working with."
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