WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Palm Beach Post) -- Jose Vega went to the suburban West Palm Beach clinic Thursday afternoon to demand more money from the office’s manager and her boyfriend. The two hired Vega to do work on their home, a family member told the Palm Beach Post today.
When Wellington couple Ana Villa and Luis Gonzalez told Vega they wouldn’t pay more money, Vega shot Gonzalez. He then turned his gun on Villa who was able to put up her hand before he shot her. Villa was undergoing surgery on her hand on Friday.
Vega, 69, of Lake Worth then turned the gun on himself.
Vega and Gonzalez, 38, died at the scene. Villa, 49, is at Delray Medical Center and is expected to be OK, the family member said.
“She is doing good,” the family member said by text. “She is going to be OK.”
The shootings happened at Doctor’s Choice Medical Center on Forest Hill Boulevard around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
“What we believe is that this individual knows these two people,” Teri Barbera, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s spokeswoman said. “He came in to have a business discussion with them, a personal business discussion. It got heated.”
The shooting occurred during what has been a particularly violent week in Palm Beach County. It was the county’s fifth homicide since Monday and the sixth overall in 2014.
It was also the second time this week that local authorities have investigated a murder-suicide, and the third time in seven days that gunmen shot at other people, then killed themselves.
“This is just getting crazier and crazier every day,” said Alexander Abreu, who was shopping at the El Bodegon supermarket next door with his three young children when he heard several gunshots.
“Every day there’s a shooting in West Palm. Unfortunately, you’ve got to watch your back.”
The woman was flown by Trauma Hawk to Delray Medical Center, said Capt. Albert Borroto, spokesman for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.
Investigators spent hours gathering evidence at the shooting scene, an older shopping center just west of Military Trail in suburban West Palm Beach, as nurses and other employees of the medical office looked on in horror. Many had fled the medical office as shots were fired.
Armando Prada had just walked out of the medical office after picking up medication and had gone into a nearby grocery store moments before the shooting started.
“When I came outside, all the nurses were running,” Prada said. “I asked what happened and they said somebody’s shooting inside. … All the nurses were scared, screaming. It was crazy.”
Abreu said he was unaware when he was in El Bodegon that the shooting was happening inside the medical office next door and rushed to get his children behind cover.
Said Prada: “It’s kind of scary because this is my doctor. I know almost everybody there.”
Late Thursday, crime scene tape surrounded the medical office and deputies continued their investigation. A group of nurses who had been taken to the supermarket were later escorted away by deputies.
Staff researcher Michelle Quigley contributed to this report.