Michael Ortaliz's estranged wife had become involved with another man. On Tuesday, authorities say, he decided to confront them.
With a gun.
Neighbors saw Ortaliz, 58, milling about the Brentwood Estates mobile home park off New York Avenue, where Ortaliz's wife had been staying with her parents. Shortly after noon, John Holman pulled up in a white Ford Explorer with Ortaliz's wife.
Authorities say Ortaliz opened fire, killing Holman, 61, of New Port Richey.
The woman, whose name was not released, escaped without injury, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.
When deputies arrived, Ortaliz dropped the gun, put his hands in the air and peacefully surrendered, Sheriff Chris Nocco said. Authorities say Ortaliz confessed to the shooting, which Nocco described as "a crime of passion." Ortaliz was booked into the Land O'Lakes jail on a charge of first-degree murder.
Residents were shocked by the violent crime at their doorsteps. Three residents gathered Tuesday afternoon to compare notes just down the street from the scene.
"This is not what you expect in a 55-and-over community," said Ed Irwin, who serves as sergeant-at-arms for the community's board of directors.
But neighbors took some solace in knowing the dispute did not involve anyone who actually lived there. "It's not somebody you know shooting another person you know," said Angela Godfrey.
Records did not show any prior arrests in Pasco County for Ortaliz, of 10336 Leaning Oak Drive, Port Richey. But he spoke to the Times in 2000, after a neighbor's pit bull viciously attacked his Shar-Pei basset hound mix during a stroll. Ortaliz pulled the pit bull off his dog, then killed the aggressive animal with his .38 caliber handgun. Ortaliz said then it was hard to pull the trigger, but he had little choice - even though he believed his neighbor, who said the pit bull normally wouldn't harm anyone.
"Something snapped," Ortaliz said.