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Hialeah Mass Killer Pedro Antonio Vargas Struggled With Anger, Might Have Been on Steroids

Pedro Antonio Vargas
Pedro Antonio Vargas
via Hialeah Police Department

Three days after Pedro Antonio Vargas was shot to death by police after killing six neighbors in his Hialeah apartment building, police are still trying to understand why he carried out one of Miami's worst massacres. The 42-year-old lived with his elderly mother and never showed a violent streak in public.

But a few hints of Vargas' darker side have emerged in interviews with acquaintances. One man from Vargas' gym tells the AP he worked out obsessively to deal with anger, had trouble with women, and blamed his baldness on steroid use.

"He'd just say this was the only thing that would keep him normal, pulling out all the anger in the gym," Jorge Bagos, who worked out at the Hialeah LA Fitness with Vargas, tells the AP.

A neighbor named Margarita Reyes, meanwhile, tells the Miami Herald that Vargas was skinny when he and his mother moved into the building about 15 years ago, but that seven years ago he began bulking up.

Vargas sometimes flashed hints of anger. Another neighbor, 70-year-old Miriam Valdes, tells NBC6 he would regularly scream at his mother.

"He was a very abusive person," she tells the station. "He didn't have any friends there."

Another unnamed neighbor tells the Herald that Vargas had told him he'd eagerly take up arms to fight the Castro regime in his native Cuba.

Plenty of people in Miami take steroids, rage against Castro, and have anger management issues. None of those details comes close to explaining why Vargas cracked this past Friday and killed six people. Police say the rampage began around 6:30 p.m., when Vargas withdrew about $10,000 from his bank account, piled it on the floor of his apartment, and set it on fire.

When the building's managers -- an elderly husband and wife -- showed up to investigate, he killed them. Vargas then shot wildly off his balcony, killing a man in the parking lot below, before kicking his way into another unit in the building and killing a couple and their 17-year-old daughter. Vargas took two hostages in another unit before SWAT teams swarmed in and killed him.

Riptide left a message with a Hialeah Police spokesman requesting any new info this morning on Vargas' motives. We'll update this post when we hear back.

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