Florida hostage siege: Seven killed in Hialeah

Florida hostage siege: Seven killed in Hialeah

A gunman holding hostages in a building near Miami in the US state of Florida killed six people before being shot dead by police, officials say.

Officers stormed the block of flats in Hialeah, north of Miami, on Saturday morning after a stand-off lasting several hours.

Two hostages were freed unharmed, police said.

Five of the victims were found inside the complex. Another man was killed while walking across a street outside.

Police were called after shots were fired on Friday evening.

They said gunman Pedro Vargas, 43, set his apartment on fire. When the building manager and his wife noticed the smoke and ran to his apartment, he shot them dead.

The couple's daughter Shamira Piscotti said: "I heard about 15 to 20 shots and so I went outside.

"My neighbours were screaming that my parents had been shot. I guess there was an altercation and the person opened fire on both of them."

The attacker went on to kill a man walking in the street and a family of three who lived downstairs, police said.

He is then believed to have barricaded himself in a flat and taken two people hostage.

Police moved in after almost eight hours of negotiations, local media said.

"They made the decision to go in there and save and rescue the hostages," Sgt Eddie Rodriguez told the Associated Press.

A 9mm pistol was found at the scene.

Police say there was no clear motive for the shooting and they are still investigating the circumstances.