Crime

FIU student’s shooting death is an ‘isolated incident,’ police chief says

FIU student Michael Zaldua was photographed by the Miami Herald in 2014 at the Frost Museum on campus. He’s on the right, listening to Carol Damian, who was then director of the Frost Art Museum-FIU.
FIU student Michael Zaldua was photographed by the Miami Herald in 2014 at the Frost Museum on campus. He’s on the right, listening to Carol Damian, who was then director of the Frost Art Museum-FIU. Miami Herald file photo

Sweetwater’s police chief called the weekend shooting death of Florida International University student Michael Zaldua an “isolated incident,” and said students living at the off-campus apartment where he was shot shouldn’t be concerned about their safety.

“There are no further issues with kids in the building,” Sweetwater Police Chief Placido Diaz said.

Late Friday night, Zaldua, an FIU student and freelance photographer, was shot and killed in the parking garage of the 4th Street Commons apartment complex. The building, at 10899 SW Fourth St., is filled with students from the school’s Southwest Eighth Street campus.

Zaldua, who was shot at point-blank range and pronounced dead at the scene, was 21. Police wouldn’t go into detail about the killing, but believe it stemmed from a disagreement between Zaldua and his killer.

A police source said Monday that investigators from the Miami-Dade Police Department — which is investigating the homicide — found Zaldua’s car on a different floor of the parking garage where he was killed and were going through it on Monday.

Police are also reviewing surveillance footage captured from cameras in or around the parking garage at the apartment complex.

Zaldua, born in South Florida, is a graduate of Doral’s Ronald Reagan High School. He lived with his mother in Doral at the time of his murder. A FIU spokesperson said students requiring support will be provided counseling.

The family began a GoFundMe page over the weekend with the goal of raising $30,000 for Zaldua’s funeral. By mid-afternoon Monday the family had raised almost $25,000.

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