A south Florida man killed his two sons in front of his estranged wife and then shot himself to death in what authorities said was a demented plan to punish the wife for leaving him.
Isidro Zavala, 45, snuck into his wife’s Boynton Beach home at around 2 a.m. Saturday and used a rope to strangle his children, Eduardo Zavala, 12, and Mario Zavala, 11, while their mother, Victoria Flores Zavala, 36, tried to fight him off, police said.
Zavala then pulled out a .38 caliber pistol and shot both boys before turning the gun on himself, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Victoria Zavala begged her husband to kill her instead of their children, authorities said.
Boynton Beach Police Chief Matthew Immler told reporters that Victoria Flores Zavala begged her estranged husband to kill her instead of their children.
“She said, ‘Why won’t you kill me?'” Boynton Beach Police Chief Matthew Immler told the Post.
“He said, ‘No, you’re going to live with this,'” Immler said.
Authorities said Zavala had plotted the brutal murder-suicide for some time.
He had even turned down an invite to a party on Friday night, telling his roommate that he “had something to do,” the newspaper reported.
Family members of Victoria Flores Zavala at the home where the murders occurred. Isidro Zavala, 45, did not have a criminal record and was remembered by neighbors as a seemingly loving father who attended his sons’ Little League games and never missed mass on Sundays
At the crime scene – which Zavala shared with his wife before they filed for divorce last year – investigators found a bag containing a TEC-9 automatic handgun, extra ammo, duct tape, heavy-duty shears and a note addressed to the couple’s 19-year-old son, who was not at the home.
Stunned neighbors remembered Zavala as a loyal church-goer, devoted father and hard-working owner of a landscape company.
He was heavily involved in his sons’ Little League baseball program, offering to trim the park’s hedges when they became overgrown, the Post reported.
“(He) was a fixture here. He would help us out immensely,” East Boynton Little League chief Jack McVey told the newspaper. “That’s why it’s so surprising that he did this.”
Police said they were never called to Zavala’s home, and the Florida Department of Children and families had no record of dealing with the family.