Two boys died of gunshot wounds fired by a hitchhiker who also killed the boys' father, wounded a family friend and was suspected in the slaying of another man, officials said.
Thomas L. Shanafelt, police chief in this Gulfside Island community, identified the dead as Dr. Juan Dumois, 47, a Tampa pediatrician; his sons Eric, 13, and Mark, 9, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Matzke, 58, of Holmes Beach.
Raymond Barrows, 52, of Miami, a Dumois family friend, was wounded and appeared to be recovering at a Bradenton hospital, the police chief said.
Investigators said the first shootings occurred in a station wagon in which Dumois, his son and Barrows were returning from a fishing trip, after they gave a hitchhiker on a bicycle a ride.
The man fled after Dumois' auto and boat veered off the road and jackknifed around a utility pole in front of a condominium complex.
Shortly afterward police received a call reporting the shooting of Matzke in his small sports car, about a quarter of a mile down the road in a supermarket parking lot.
A police spokesman said it was possible Matzke saw the shootings in the station wagon, then chased the suspect, only to become a victim.