Puerto Rico evacuee shot, killed at Kissimmee motel in front of her children, police say

Man arrested in fatal shooting at Super 8 Motel

By Cathleigh Winningham - Producer, Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A woman was shot and killed late Thursday at a motel in Kissimmee by her boyfriend, who later turned himself in, police said.

The fatal shooting was reported at 10:30 p.m. at the Super 8 motel at 1815 Vine St. 

Police said Maria Santiago-Burgos, 43, was shot three times and taken to a hospital, where she died.

The victim, her two children and her mother were staying at the motel as Hurricane Maria evacuees from Puerto Rico.

Leumas Moraza, 38, also a native of Puerto Rico, called 911 after the shooting and told dispatchers he was walking to the police station.

"I was just arguing with my girlfriend and I shot her. I just want the police to pick me up, that’s it," Moraza said.

Kissimmee police arrested Moraza at Vine Street and Emory Avenue, according to the report. He was booked into the Osceola County Jail.

Moraza cooperated with detectives, according to police.

"You’re doing the right thing by turning yourself in," the dispatcher told him on the 911 call.

According to the arrest report, Moraza moved into the motel with Santiago-Burgos, her two children and her mother about a month ago. The couple began fighting on Thursday when, Moraza said, he saw text messages from Santiago-Burgos that were possibly to another man.

When Santiago-Burgos tried to end her relationship with Moraza on Thursday night, she asked him to leave the motel, but he told her he had no place to go, the suspect told detectives.

Moraza told detectives that the victim told him, "I know you always have your firearm with you, if you want, just shoot me three times."

The suspect said Santiago-Burgos reached for his 9 mm Ruger in his waistband, and when he tried to stop her, he accidently shot her once. He said he heard two gunshots after that but does not remember anything past the first shot, according to the report.

The victim's children told police they saw their mother arguing with Moraza outside the hotel room about their relationship. The victim's son said Moraza pointed his gun at the family, and while the boy's mother was outside trying to restrain Moraza, she was shot, according to the report. Santiago-Burgos came into the motel room and locked the door, but Moraza broke down the door and shot the victim in her back and then again in her face, the victim's son told police.

The victim's family said Moraza left after they threatened to call police.

Moraza is charged with domestic homicide and assault with a deadly weapon. A judge on Saturday ordered that he be held without bond.

The Kissimmee Police Department is asking any potential witnesses to call 407-846-3333 or to go to the Kissimmee Police Department to make a statement.

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