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Mother grieves for sons killed in Ruskin shootings

RUSKIN — Pasquala Quezada lost her husband to a heart attack six years ago on New Year's Eve. She lost her only two sons, her best friends, when they were shot to death on the morning of Thanksgiving.

Now, she said, she's got nothing left.

"My heart is destroyed," Quezada said. "I only had my two sons. I gave everything for them, and they gave everything for me."

Deputies are still looking for a man who emerged early Thursday from a green minivan with a .45-caliber pistol and shot six people, killing two, outside a house at 604 Ocean Mist Court in Ruskin.

Sergio Guitran, 22, and Juan Guitran, 28, were killed. Richard Cantu, 31, is in extremely critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. Daniel Beltran, 24, and Ramon Galan, 29, who had upper-body gunshot wounds, and Gonzalo Guevara, 28, who was shot in the wrist, are in stable condition.

Quezada, 50, said a woman who witnessed the shooting about 2:30 a.m. at the house told her a man showed up claiming he was a deputy looking for someone who was not at that house.

He told people to get on their knees and asked for identification. Someone came out of the bathroom, startling the man, and he started shooting.

Juan Guitran, after being shot, stood up and looked for his brother, Quezada was told. She said they were dedicated to each other.

"I think that's why God took them together," Quezada said. "Juan always said if something happened to his brother, he'd have to kill himself because he couldn't handle it."

Her sons have worked hard to help their family since age 16, she said. Lately, Sergio spent 14-hour days working on medical equipment at a physician's office. She cried Friday with his co-workers.

"Sergio would call on his nightly break and say, 'Are you okay? We already lost Dad, and we don't want anything to happen to you,' " Quezada said.

Juan worked at Badcock Home Furniture & More. Quezada said they both came home with paychecks and asked what she needed.

They were both football fans who teased each other when their favorite team did better. Sergio liked the Denver Broncos. Juan had just washed his No. 94 Dallas Cowboys jersey, ready for the next game.

They spent weekends hosting friends and family for cookouts. Quezada made potato salad for them. If one brother stayed out late, the other called to make sure he got home safely.

Every day, they told her they loved her.

She said her sons stayed out of trouble because they didn't want to hurt her. When they were shot, she said, they must have worried for her.

Johnny Palacios, a cousin of the brothers', said the family can't understand how this could happen to them.

"It's a hell of a thing to wake up to on Thanksgiving weekend," Palacios, 37, said. "Two of my cousins dead. Two others shot. I just hope they catch the guy who did it."

It is a top priority, said Larry McKinnon, a Hillsborough Sheriff's Office spokesman. The shooter is considered armed and extremely dangerous, he said.

Deputies said the shooter wore a black T-shirt with the logo "Sheriff" on the front and the word "Security" on the back. He was described as a white male in his 30s or 40s with short, dark brown or black bushy hair. The shooter has not been identified any further.

"We're getting closer to what the motive is," McKinnon said. "We have some strong leads on that."

The Sheriff's Office would not release other details until a suspect is identified or a warrant could be issued.

Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a $1,000 reward for a tip that leads to the gunman's identification and arrest. Anyone with information can call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477). They can also report anonymously online at crimestopperstb.com or text "CSTB plus your tip" to 274637 (CRIMES).

Ileana Morales can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or imorales@sptimes.com.

Mother grieves for sons killed in Ruskin shootings 11/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 26, 2010 11:39pm]
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