(Reuters) – Police in Puerto Rico are investigating the execution-style murders of a retired U.S. Army officer and three members of his family during a Monday night attack on their gated suburban community home, officials said.
A suspect was in custody and police said the killings may have been in reprisal for an attempt to evict tenants from a rental home the family owned.
Police identified the victims as Miguel Ortiz Díaz, 66, his wife Carmita Uceda Ciriaco, 45, his mother-in-law Clementina Ciriaco López, and his 15-year-old son Miguel Ortiz Uceda.
Another 13-year-boy, also a son of the victims, survived and is under police protection and receiving medical care, Police Superintendent Jose Caldero said in a radio interview.
The murders were the seventh multiple killing in Puerto Rico this year, police said.
The attack took place in the gated Frailes community of Guaynabo, just west of San Juan.
The suspect in custody was arrested early Tuesday in Bayamon, where Ortiz Diaz’s rental house is located, according to police.
Caldero described the crime scene as “macabre,” saying Ortiz Diaz, who retired from the U.S. Army as a sergeant first class, was gagged and shot to death against a sofa in the living room, while the two women were made to kneel down nearby and then shot.
Police believe the suspects attempted to kill the minors as well, but kidnapped them when their weapons failed. Caldero told reporters that the older son was killed in transit and his body dumped by the side of a road.
The attackers apparently ran out of bullets when attempting to kill the 13-year-old boy, he said, so they beat him and then threw him off a bridge, leaving the boy for dead.
The boy survived, managing to alert a neighbor and then police about what had occurred.