Thursday, January 26, 2012

Auburndale, FL: Man Dead, Woman Injured in Apparent Shooting, Suicide

AUBURNDALE | An early-morning shooting in an Auburndale motel left one man dead and a woman critically injured following a domestic fight between a young couple, authorities said.

Officers with the Auburndale Police Department drove to the Lake Forest Motel at 1702 U.S. 92 W. about 2:20 a.m. today, finding the aftermath of the chaotic scene outside room 25.

Officers said Eviana Inez Rosa, 23, of Lakeland, sat outside the room, suffering from three gunshot wounds. The woman — who celebrated her birthday about two weeks before — was conscious and able to talk to police.

Around the corner and inside the room, police said they found the body of Edward O. Pecci, a 22-year-old man with a Tampa address. Pecci had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

Rosa explained to officers that she and her boyfriend had been living at the motel for about two weeks. They were arguing until about 2 a.m., when Pecci grabbed a gun.

Lt. Thrasey Tucker said Rosa’s survival was nothing short of miraculous. One of the bullets hit one of her biceps, the other two were head shots, Tucker said.

Neither of the bullets that penetrated her head went through her skull, he said.

As she fled the room and into the parking lot to find help, authorities said she heard the sound of a single gunshot behind her.

Authorities said they found a gun with Pecci’s body on the floor of the motel room.

Tucker said the pair — both employees of Buckhead Beef in Auburndale — had been together for about four months.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, a representative of Buckhead Beef said Rosa had been working there for about a year. No memorial had been planned, pending an official outcome of the case by police.

Rosa was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where she remains in critical but stable condition, police said.

The case still under investigation. Detectives are preliminarily calling the incident an attempted murder-suicide.

[ Chase Purdy can be reached at or 863-802-7516. Follow him on Twitter: @chasepurdy ]

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