Ex-Army sergeant among 4 killed in Puerto Rico

AP News
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Posted: Nov 18, 2014 5:59 PM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Gunmen killed a retired Army sergeant and three members of his family, Puerto Rico police said Tuesday. A 13-year-old son survived despite being stabbed and thrown off a bridge.

At least two suspects were involved in the fatal shooting of 67-year-old Miguel Ortiz Diaz, his wife, and his mother-in-law at the family home in the U.S. territory's upscale city of Guaynabo just southwest of the capital of San Juan, police officer Maritza Ramos said.

The suspects took two teenage sons of the couple to the neighboring city of Bayamon, where a 15-year-old son was fatally shot. A 13-year-old son survived after being stabbed and thrown over a bridge when the gun one of the attackers was using ran out of bullets, Police Superintendent Jose Caldero said. The boy was able to reach someone at a nearby house who then called 911 early Tuesday, officials said.

Two people have turned themselves in, including a 27-year-old man.

"We already have concrete evidence that he was involved in the killing," Caldero said of one of the suspects.

No charges have been filed.

Caldero said police do not have a motive yet but are investigating whether Ortiz was killed by people who were renting a house he owned and were facing eviction because they had fallen behind on the rent.

Ortiz had been a professor for nearly 20 years at Puerto Rico's American Military Academy, where officials held an impromptu vigil Tuesday morning.

"He was an excellent professor and colleague," Director Juan Carlos Consuegra told reporters. "He was always smiling and in a good mood. He was very cooperative. It's a strong blow to this institution."

Ortiz's two sons also attended the academy and were enrolled in eighth and ninth grade. Officials placed a bouquet of red roses near his office with a sign that read, "Stop with the Violence & Hate," and featured two pictures of Ortiz.

Maj. Carlos Cuebas, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Reserve, said a database identified Ortiz as a sergeant first class who had retired a while back.

"He was a good person who continued to serve the community," Cuebas said.