MIAMI - A gifted musician and teacher whose piano students included his neighbors' kids fatally shot his wife and two daughters then himself in the family's Miami home, police say, leaving those who described him as friendly and helpful to wonder what happened.
Police identified those killed Wednesday morning as 53-year-old Pablo Josue Amador, his 45-year-old wife, Maria and their youngest daughters, Prescilla and Rosa, 14 and 13. A teenage son escaped the shootings uninjured, calling 911 at 5:58 a.m. as he fled the home, police said.
A biography of Amador posted on a Web site advertising his piano classes says he began studying music in Havana and later earned a degree in the U.S. The U.S. Copyright Office lists 36 compositions by him and a set of photographs. The songs he wrote, many in Spanish, included titles such as "Beautiful Boy" and "Rose of Love," as well as numerous religious selections.
Sarait Betancourt, a 44-year-old school bus driver who lives near the family, said Amador was a Cuban immigrant who has been giving her two sons, ages 9 and 10, piano lessons at his home once a week since 2006.
"He was a marvelous person and a tremendous professor," she said. "People would enter the house, and you just breathed peace."
Amador's two slain daughters, his 16-year-old son, and a college-age daughter all excelled at piano and performed together at church and home as Los Galileos, Betancourt said. Amador said on his Web site that he produced 13 CDs of his children performing.
Authorities have not confirmed that there is a fourth sibling, nor said where the son is now.
Gregorio Montesino, who lives nearby, said music could always be heard coming from the house and children often played in its in-ground pool. He said Amador always waved to greet him.
Amador also said on his Web site that he sang tenor with the Greater Miami Opera chorus and was a soloist at Kendall United Methodist Church, though officials at both places weren't able to confirm that information.
Christina Ruiz, a 23-year-old social work student who lives next to the family, described him as a "regular dad" who helped her grandmother jump-start her car several times but who was known to complain when he was bothered by noise or work being done on her house.
Neighbors said Amador also worked at a music store. His wife had nursing degrees and officials at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis confirmed she was the director of education there, teaching about spinal cord injuries and answering calls from patients looking for the right doctor.
By afternoon, all the victims had been carried out of the white ranch with gray trim. The only sign anything had happened on the quiet street of modest single-family homes was the line of TV satellite trucks and towels draped over the two minivans parked in the family's driveway, apparently placed by police to block the license plates. But the questions continued.
"It confuses me," said 48-year-old Thelma Vallecillo, whose 13-year-old daughter took piano lessons at the house. "I don't understand."