The family and friends of 33-year-old Carlos Gavilanes began their goodbyes to a father and partner at a Hialeah funeral home Tuesday evening. Luis Melendez and Roque Florez remembered their friend. On Tuesday, Elmo Lugo, the former boss of Pedro Vargas, the Hialeah gunman who killed Gavilanes and five other people, said that Vargas had difficulty when changes were made in their department at Miami Dade College.
The family of 33-year-old Carlos Gavilanes began their goodbyes to a father and partner at a Hialeah funeral home Tuesday evening. Two-year-old Victoria was pushed in a stroller as her mother draped an arm around her 9-year-old brother, Carlito.
For more than four hours scores of people packed the wake for Gavilanes at San Jose Funeral Home. Heads hung low, they offered hugs to one another.
A group of Gavilanes’ friends showed up in memorial T-shirts to offer condolences. They were longtime friends of Gavilanes who played in a handball league together on weekends.
Clad in a T-shirt that had a picture of Gavilanes holding a handball, Luis Melendez remembered his friend as a family man.
"He was a good friend to us. We were always together on the weekends,” Melendez said. “He was a good father. A good friend. A good family man. We will miss him.”
While hundreds continued to say a final farewell, miles away on the 1400 block of West 46th Street where the shooting rampage took place, a prayer vigil was being held.
More than 30 people gathered in front of Gavilanes’ apartment door praying and singing. A representative from the Ecuadoran Consulate was also there to say a few words. He offered to fly Gavilanes back to Ecuador to be buried, but the Gavilanes family declined, saying Carlos Gavilanes' final resting place will be here in Miami.
Funeral services are set for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. John the Apostle Church at 475 E. 4th Ave. with the burial to follow at Miami Memorial Park.
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