Ricardo Vaca had just gotten married a few weeks before. The 20-year-old and his new bride were expecting a baby.
Now, Vaca’s family is devastated after he was fatally shot Saturday night while trying to break up an argument between a husband and wife, the News-Press reported. The wife involved in the dispute was also shot and killed by her husband, authorities said.
Placido Moreno-Torres and his wife, Amparo, were outside their Lehigh Acres, Fla., home about 9 p.m., according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Witnesses told authorities they heard the argument and said Vaca did, too.
“In his concern he went to the Moreno’s driveway to intercede and mediate between Placido and Amparo,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “His neighborly act appears to be his only involvement in the matter.”
That’s when Moreno-Torres shot and killed his wife and Vaca, according to the sheriff’s office.
Moreno-Torres ran away; his wife and neighbor died at the scene of their wounds, authorities said.
On Father’s Day, Moreno-Torres, 47, was arrested on two homicide charges and one felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held in the Lee County Jail.
Bond was set for Moreno-Torres at more than $1 million during his first court appearance Monday, and he was ordered to have no contact with the victims or their families, the News-Press reported.
Jail records show his next court appearance is July 18.
Relatives, speaking to the News-Press, described Vaca as a “great son” who just got married May 29.
“He was the greatest person and my dearest cousin,” Nestor Martinez Vaca told the newspaper.
The cousin also told the newspaper that Vaca and his wife were expecting a baby girl. A Facebook page that appears to belong to Vaca shows a sonogram photo uploaded just days before his death.
“They were happily married and he was an amazing person, always happy and trying to make people smile, funny, a good student and an amazing son,” Martinez Vaca told the News-Press. “We as a family are devastated.”
Last year, 184 people were killed in Florida during domestic violence incidents, according to state crime data.
Between 1980 and 2008, about 16 percent of all homicides involved intimate partner violence, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. And 20 percent of domestic violence homicide victims are family members, friends, neighbors, people who tried to intervene, police or bystanders, according to a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study analyzed data from 16 states, not including Florida.
[This post, originally published June 20, has been updated.]