When an argument between Arturo Vigo and Alain Alvarez intensified at a Hialeah hotel, Vigo armed himself with a machete and Alvarez pulled out a gun, police said.
Vigo attacked, prompting Alvarez to squeeze off a single, fatal shot, according to investigators.
Officers arrived late Friday to find Vigo, 38, dead in a first-floor hallway of the Hialeah Cabana Hotel, 508 W. First Ave. They also found and detained Alvarez, 31, who remained at the scene with minor injuries.
Police on Saturday said the shooting was justified and declined to charge Alvarez with homicide.
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“Two men, residents in the building, had an argument,” Hialeah Police Lt. Carl Zogby told Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4. “It ended with one man being shot in the hallway.”
Alvarez told investigators about the fight, saying that he shot Vigo only after Vigo came after him with the machete.
Police said the deadly shooting appeared to be a case of self-defense.
But they also said the firearm Alvarez used to shoot Vigo had been reported stolen in a separate Miami case. Investigators charged him with grand theft of a firearm, a third-degree felony.
Vigo had lived alone for about three months in the extended-stay hotel, which rents rooms for $55 a night, according to fellow guest Hortensia Horta. She said she believed Vigo had an ex-wife and three children in Miami and a mother in Cuba.
“He was a quiet man, very nice,” Horta said, adding that her son was friendly with Vigo. “There were never any problems.”
Horta said she began to cry when she saw rescue workers try to resuscitate Vigo in the hotel hallway.
Vigo pleaded guilty to charges of domestic violence and petty theft in 2012 and was sentenced to probation, according to public records. He also had been arrested but not prosecuted on drug-possession charges, records show.
Neighbors said Alvarez has lived in the hotel with his father for several months. In 2004, according to public records, he was arrested on marijuana charges, but he did not serve jail time.