The crack of gunfire and clank of a hot bullet striking steel were familiar sounds to Spec. Gilberto Alvarez.
The Hialeah, Fla., kid who enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17 served two combat tours in Afghanistan and once survived hours of relentless al-Qaida mortar shelling. When a shot nearly ripped through his body, lodging in his Humvee, he wore it on a chain around his neck.
So two weeks ago, after police say a bullet mysteriously struck a black Ford Mustang carrying Alvarez and Army buddy Joshua Rogers in a sleepy northeast Pennsylvania borough, the combat veterans didn’t call 911 or speed away in a panic.
They drove home, grabbed a shotgun and came back to find the person responsible.
Up an icy hill, they found Lloyd Thomas, who allegedly told troopers he killed Rogers and put a bullet through Alvarez’s temple in self-defense.
The shootings — called a double murder by prosecutors and police — have shocked the residents of Rust Belt Susquehanna County and Alvarez’s relatives, who can’t understand how a man who sought refuge from his war-born demons in small-town Pennsylvania could find death instead.
“He was happy for the first time in his adult life,” said Jessica Garcia, Alvarez’s cousin. “All he had known was war.”
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/25/2661462/death-of-a-hialeah-soldier-on.html#storylink=cpy