Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg police say a man killed his son and himself

Alvaro Marin dropped hints about dark happenings in his native Colombia. Guerillas. Death threats. A near kidnapping.

But he would never elaborate. Too hurt maybe. Or too proud.

"He just shut down," said Brenda Ball, his ex-wife. "He'd just say, 'Brendita, no, no, no, I don't want to talk about it any more."

Now Marin, 58, has left behind an even bigger question mark.

St. Petersburg police said Monday that it was Marin who shot his 20-year-old son to death last week before turning the gun on himself.

Relatives found the bodies Friday in the northeast St. Petersburg apartment that Marin shared with his son, Juan Marin.

Police spokes Mike Puetz said he could not release more details while the investigation continues. But he said the preliminary conclusion is based on the positioning of the bodies and the location of the gun.

Alvaro Marin did not leave a note. Puetz said the motive is unclear.

"Nobody knows why at all," said Marin's nephew, Jorge Restrepo. "Nobody saw it coming."

"I'm not surprised he didn't leave a note," said Ball, who was married to Alvaro Marin from 2005 and 2007. "That was him. You couldn't get a lot of answers from him."

Ball said Marin was warm, but also intensely private and often depressed. He moved to the United States about a decade ago. His wife, Rosauro, died of cancer in 2004 at age 49. In Columbia, he was a well-to-do doctor, Ball said. Here, he struggled to speak English.

Ball said he worked a series of odd jobs — cleaning homes, mopping floors, ironing clothes. In 2006, he landed a gig as an operating room technician at St. Anthony's Hospital, she said. She's not sure why it didn't last.

In the meantime, he dropped hints of another life: He read serious fiction by Latin authors. He took the New York Times.

He loved America, but considered Americans ungrateful, Ball said. He knew what it was like to have so much — and to lose all of it.

"He kept saying to me, 'American people don't know how good they have it,' " Ball said. "They don't understand what it's like to be driving down the road, and be stopped by guerillas."

Questions remain about Marin's relationship with his son.

Rebecca Rhoden, who became friends with Juan Marin in massage school, described him as funny, good-natured, a "sparkling personality." She said he had beefs with his dad, but nothing that seemed out of the ordinary between a guy just out of high school and his father.

He rode his bike to massage school. He graduated in June. His father came to the ceremony and took photos.

Juan "was ambitious. He was not going to be just nothing," Rhoden said. "This was the beginning of a bright future."

St. Petersburg police say a man killed his son and himself 11/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 22, 2010 11:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. PolitiFact: Fact-checking Samantha Bee on Florida felonies

    State Roundup

    Comedian Samantha Bee traveled to Florida, where she says "retirees and democracy go to die," to shed light on how the state makes it difficult for felons to regain the right to vote.

    Samantha Bee hosts Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS. Bee portrayed some of Florida’s felonies as not so serious on her show.
  2. For some, Memorial Day comes around more than just once a year


    ST. PETERSBURG — It is shortly before nine on a Friday morning, and the heat is already approaching unbearable levels at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

    Iles carefully digs up the St. Augustine grass so that it will continue to grow when it is placed back on the gravesite. He tries not to disturb the root base.
  3. State budget uncertainty has school districts 'very concerned'


    While waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to approve or veto the Legislature's education budget, the people in charge of school district checkbooks are trying hard to find a bottom line.

    It has not been easy.

    The unsettled nature of Florida’s education budget has left school districts with questions about how they will make ends meet next year. []
  4. Ernest Hooper: Removing Confederate symbols doesn't eliminate persistent mindset

    Human Interest

    The debate has begun about removing a Confederate statue from outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse, and its removal is long overdue.

    Robert E. Lee Elementary, 305 E. Columbus Drive in Tampa, originally opened its doors in the early 1910s as the Michigan Avenue Grammar School. [Times file]
  5. What you need to know for Monday, May 29


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    In the weeks before Memorial Day, cemetery caretaker Gary Iles and the staff at Bay Pines National Cemetery are busy preparing the sprawling property for the annual ceremony honoring the fallen. Iles, an Army veteran who started out as a volunteer at Bay Pines, says working at the cemetery is a way for him to continue serving those who died for their country. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]