A man in a ski mask broke into a Lehigh Acres home, killed two people, and shot another in the face. If not for a brave hero, who knows how many more lives would have been taken?
That hero’s name is Geiler Velazquez Alvarez. His mom Eugenia Alvarez and little brother Josue Vega died in the shooting.
“I cannot save the life of my mom and my brother,” Geiler said. “We are destroyed. We are destroyed. It’s something that we never thought would happen.”
Deputies say Yohani de Lazaro burst into the house around 6 a.m. Wednesday and began shooting Geiler’s family.
Geiler confirmed that the owner of the house and de Lazaro were fighting over who owned the home.
“When he realized he would lose, that’s when he decided to do this,” Geiler said.
Geiler said he was sleeping when the attack occurred, and it was his brother Josue who went outside the house, where de Lazaro, wearing a ski mask, was waiting with a loaded gun.
“My brother went out at about 6 a.m. and Yohani, he shot him in the back of the head,” Geiler said. “Then he got in the house and shot my sister and my mom. I was sleeping because we were working late. Then, when he shot my mom is when I went out of my room. And he shot me, but the bullet grazed me here.”
After being grazed in the head by a bullet, Geiler said he fought de Lazaro, took the gun, and hit de Lazaro with it.
Then, he wrestled him into a headlock and stuck his fingers in de Lazaro’s eyes. During that time, Geiler’s wife took the kids, locked them inside their room, and called the police.
Geiler said that sheriff’s deputies originally apprehended him, thinking that he was the killer. This may be because he knocked de Lazaro unconscious and was covered in blood.
They put him in handcuffs and into a cruiser until a translator arrived and he could be understood.
His sister, the person who was shot in the face, is currently at a local hospital recovering, but breathing with the help of a ventilator.
“This came as a surprise to me, actually,” said Halmon Thomas, who owns property near the home.
There is concern among the neighbors for what happened there.
“No one wants to know that their loved ones have been gunned down,” Thomas said.
Thomas owns several properties on Gerald Avenue.
When he saw the heavy law enforcement presence on Wednesday, he knew it had to be bad.
“It’s kind of disheartening, I guess,” Thomas said. “I just hope we can curb these kinds of situations. In this particular case, I hope we can get to the bottom of it.”
That’s what the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has been doing on the scene for more than 24 hours.
“A man has the right to protect himself and his family,” Thomas said.
The sheriff’s office told WINK News it’s wrapping up its investigation of the scene itself.