I was 13, in eighth grade, doing my homework, when there was a loud knock at the door. It was the neighbor across the street, who helped mow our lawn when my mom was busy or helped us clear branches after a hurricane. His wife and her mother would bring us bags of mangos in the summer.
My mom peeked through the blinds, and the man told her, with gun in hand, that he has just killed his wife and now he was going to… kill us? Kill himself?
My mother didn’t stick around to hear his final words. She grabbed me by the arms and hid me under the bed. In the meantime, while we were dialing 911, he was confronted by a local police officer; the man turned the gun on himself in the street.
The man had a history of domestic violence and owned over 40 guns, but red flag laws did not exist in Florida back in 2002. I believe that if they had, his wife Juana Maria might still be alive today.