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Man in Fla. shooting spree called loner, angry

HIALEAH, Fla. -- The gunman who went on a shooting rampage at his South Florida apartment building, killing six people, was a lonely man who spoke about having pent up anger, those who knew him said yesterday.

Pedro Vargas, 42, lived on the fourth floor of a barren, concrete apartment complex in the Miami suburb of Hialeah with his elderly mother. He rarely spoke with others there, and confided to a man at his gym that he liked to work out his anger by lifting weights and trying to get big.

"He'd just say this was the only thing that would keep him normal, pulling out all the anger in the gym," Jorge Bagos said.

Vargas expressed frustration over bad experiences with women and losing all his hair from using steroids, he said.

On Friday night, Vargas set a fire in his apartment, police said, setting off a chain of events in which he killed six people at random, said Lt. Carl Zogby of the Hialeah Police Department.

After exchanging fire with police, Vargas took two people captive. When talks broke down a SWAT team killed Vargas and rescued both hostages.

Neighbors struggled Sunday to remember anything more than cursory exchanges with Vargas. He was often seen taking his mother, who used a walker, to run errands and go to doctor appointments.

Sometimes, he greeted residents and politely held open doors. Other times, he could be noticeably anti-social.

One woman recalled how she would see him wait for the elevator, only to then take the stairs if he saw someone was inside when it arrived. And neighbors never saw him with anyone other than his mother.

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