U.S. Border Patrol Officer Murders Entire Family, Turns Gun On Himself
Orlando, FL – A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer murdered his entire family and then turned his gun on himself inside their Orange County home.
Police responded to the home of Border Patrol Officer Ezequiel Almodovar at about 3 p.m. on Feb. 20 to conduct a welfare check, the New York Daily News reported.
Concerned family members told police they hadn’t seen the family in more than a week.
Officer Almodovar’s fellow officers also said he hadn’t showed up for work, according to the New York Daily News.
“Folks were concerned about the safety and well-being of the occupants inside that house,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.
Deputies forced their way into Officer Almodovar’s home and found his dead body, along with the bodies of his wife and two sons, the New York Daily News reported.
Authorities believe Officer Almodovar shot himself after he murdered his wife, 38-year-old Marielis Soto, and their two sons, 16-year-old namesake Ezequiel Almodovar and 12-year-old Gabriel Almodovar.
The family’s Shih Tzu Fluffy was the only family member who survived the attack, the New York Daily News reported.
Friends and family said the murders made no sense because Officer Almodovar had posted a happy message from Disney’s Animal Kingdom just two days before the bodies were discovered.
“Family time..we needed this..no school, no work, no adult bull**** just family time and enjoying life through eyes of kids..love you baby,” he posted on his Facebook page on Feb. 18.
Police have not release information about when they believe the shootings occurred.
Officials said that Officer Almodovar had been assigned to the Orlando International Airport but was recently transferred to Jacksonville, WFTV reported.
Neighbors and friends were shocked to hear about what had happened to the family.
“They did seem, like very happy with each other, very happy with the kids. Like I said, the kids were such good kids,” one neighbor told WESH.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency called the incident a “tragic loss” in a statement released on Feb. 21.
“[We] are saddened to learn of the death of one of our officers, who before taking his own life, took the lives of his wife and two children,” said Diane Sabatino, CBP Director of Field Operations for the Miami and Tampa field offices. “We are devastated by this tragic loss and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.”
Sabatino told ABC News in a statement their agency was “currently working with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that any information needed for their ongoing investigation is made available.”
The murdered boys’ basketball coach said Officer Almodovar had been a very involved father who coached his sons’ basketball team for several seasons, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The members of the Lightning Youth Basketball team will honor their fallen teammates by wearing Ezequiel and Gabriel’s numbers on their uniforms for the first game of the season in March.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has not released any information regarding what they believe was the motive behind the murders, the Orlando Sentinel reported.