TAMPA — An argument Saturday morning escalated into a shooting that left one man dead and another critically injured after he turned the gun on himself, authorities said.
Jorge Sanchez, 56, and Luis Alberto Fuente, 45, got into a fight at Sanchez's North Tampa home before 9 a.m. Saturday. Sanchez pulled out a handgun and shot Fuente several times, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
When deputies arrived at the house at 7504 N Hale Ave., they found Fuente of Tampa dead outside the residence.
Sanchez fled to a nearby gas station, authorities said, and called his family. A relative picked him up and brought him to a family member's home. While in the car, Sanchez told them what he'd just done, deputies said.
He asked to be taken back to his house. A friend agreed to drive but stopped at the Walmart at W Waters Avenue and N Dale Mabry Highway and told Sanchez's family where they were. Family members relayed that information to the Sheriff's Office, and deputies went to the location.
Upon arrival, deputies saw only the friend and asked him to step out of the vehicle. As the friend approached deputies, Sanchez, who was ducked down in the back seat, sat up and shot himself in the head, deputies said.
Sanchez's sister, Marlene Palanque, said her brother had been having problems with Fuente recently.
"(Fuente) was tormenting him, making his life miserable," she said through a translator.
Sanchez's neighbor, Shirley Stover, said she never heard any arguments next door.
The two men worked on the house and in the yard together often, she said. "They were always out there doing something together."
On Saturday morning, she heard several loud noises but didn't think anything of it until deputies arrived later.
"I heard pow, pow, pow and looked out my sliding glass door," Stover said. "(Sanchez) was coming out from behind the screened-in patio and looked at me and said, 'It's okay, it's okay.' "
Sanchez was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. He was in critical condition Saturday afternoon.
Fuente had been arrested four times in Hillsborough County since 2006 on charges of domestic battery, according to jail records. The last arrest was in January.
His wife, Celia Quintana of Tampa, last saw him on Friday. The pair are separated but legally married and have a 16-year-old daughter together, she said.
"He was a father who cared deeply for his daughter," Quintana said. "She adored her father."
The couple came to Tampa in 1975 from Cienfuegos, Cuba. Fuente supported himself by doing odd jobs such as painting and landscaping. He had two sons with another woman, Quintana said. She wasn't aware of any relationship he had with Sanchez but did know he was going through a court dispute based on domestic squabbles with an ex-girlfriend.
On Friday, Fuente visited his daughter and went to the gas station to buy some barbecue chips she wanted.
"He didn't have much work; he didn't have much money," Quintana said. "But he gave everything that he had."
Times news researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2442.