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Hillsborough County deputies, Tampa police seek clues and connections in fatal rampage

TAMPA — At the end of January, Dina Martin called Robert Velazquez her "loving husband to be" on her MySpace page.

"Robert … takes care of me and our kids every day," she wrote, calling her 7- and 2-year-old her life.

Now detectives are trying to sort out why Velazquez, 31, apparently killed Martin, 28, and her unidentified friend and co-worker over the weekend before shooting himself at the West Tampa home the couple shared.

On Sunday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office did not name Martin's co-worker pending family notification. He lived 4 miles away at the Lakeshore Club Apartments, and was found dead with a gunshot wound inside a unit at 6803 Cavacade Drive.

Detectives were led to his apartment after questioning family and friends of Velazquez and Martin. The man is believed to be the second victim Velazquez referenced to Tampa police while barricaded inside the house he and Martin rented at 3201 W Ivy St.

By that point, Martin lay dead on the floor inside the home, police said. After more than an hour of negotiations, Velazquez exchanged shots with officers and then killed himself.

A day, later "definitive lines" had not yet been drawn between the murder-suicide and the homicide, said J.D. Callaway, a spokesman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office is working with Tampa police to determine if the two are linked.

"We are continuing to investigate," Callaway said.

Lakeshore resident Ivette Ramos watched detectives carry her neighbor's body down the steps and out the door from the apartment building she shared with him.

The 23-year-old Ramos moved in about a week ago, and said she didn't hear any gunshots on Friday night or Saturday.

"I didn't know him, and if it's who I think it is, he seemed like a nice guy," Ramos said. "What worries me is that I didn't hear anything."

Velazquez and Martin moved into the W Ivy Street home in April with two children and a pet boa constrictor, said the homeowner.

Since then, police had been to the residence four times on domestic violence calls. But no one was ever arrested.

Times staff writer Rebecca Catalanello contributed to this report. Chandra Broadwater can be reached at or (813) 661-2454.

Hillsborough County deputies, Tampa police seek clues and connections in fatal rampage

08/16/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:42pm]
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