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Tampa detectives confirm name of man killed in apparent murder-suicide

TAMPA — Detectives have confirmed the name of a man killed Saturday in an apparent murder-suicide that left three dead.

Rickey Renard Bifford, 27, was shot twice inside his apartment at 6803 Cavacade Drive.

Hillsborough sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway said Robert Velazquez, 31, called relatives to tell them he had killed Bifford.

Soon after, in another part of town, Velazquez also killed his former girlfriend and then turned his gun on himself, according to Tampa police.

Dina Martin, 28, the mother of two children, was found shot dead at 3201 W Ivy St., a home she and Velazquez once shared, according to Tampa police. Velazquez shuttered himself inside the home Monday, negotiating with police.

But, eventually, police say, Velazquez shot himself.

Martin once proclaimed on her MySpace page that she intended to marry Velazquez.

Tampa police say their relationship appeared to be rocky. Officers responded to four domestic calls at the home since the two moved there.

Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said Bifford and Martin, co-workers at an Applebee's Grill and Bar on W Hillsborough Avenue, were romantically linked.

Martin's family members are grieving. Her sister, Angelina Hopkins, said it hurts too much to say much now.

"Honestly," she wrote in an e-mail to the Times, "she was just a great and loving person that didn't deserve any of this."

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at or (813) 226-3383.

Tampa detectives confirm name of man killed in apparent murder-suicide 08/18/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:42pm]
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