FIU student killed at apartment complex garage in Sweetwater

Police identify victim killed Friday night as Michael Zaldua

SWEETWATER, Fla. – A Florida International University student was fatally shot Friday night in a parking garage of an apartment complex in Sweetwater, police said.

The shooting was reported shortly after 10:30 p.m. Friday at the 4th Street Commons parking garage.

Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta identified the victim as Michael Zaldua, whom neighbors described as kind and courteous. Zaldua, 21, was a student at FIU.

Yellow crime scene tape blocked access to an area on the third floor of the garage, and there was blood next to the "reserved 266" parking space.

The crime scene was about four blocks away from FIU's Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

Neighbors said Zaldua grew up in South Florida, attended Ronald W. Reagan/Doral Senior High School and loved photography.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim," FIU spokeswoman Dianne Fernandez said in a statement. "The university will be offering support to students who feel impacted by this tragedy."

FIU reminded students to be vigilant of their surroundings and report any unusual activity to police.

"I want our residents to know that we are working closely with Miami-Dade Police Department as they investigate this incident," Sweetwater police Chief Placido Diaz said. "The Sweetwater Police Department ensures that our community is safe and that this is an isolated incident."

Building management at 4th Street Commons said they are increasing security in the wake of the shooting.

Residents said they were promised that security cameras would be installed throughout the garage, but it hasn't happened.

"Everybody wants to move out of here and wants to live somewhere else now," a resident told Local 10.

Miami-Dade police detectives were asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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