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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, Jun. 25, 2018 4 months ago

OCSO: Money argument led to Summerport murder

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Wueizman Saul Leal is accused of shooting and killing his mother in Summerport.

On the morning of Friday, June 22, Wueizman Saul Leal’s stepfather, Nicholas Petrone, saw Leal holding a black handgun. He urged him to go to a shooting range to release his anger. 

According to Orange County Sheriff’s Office detectives, 12 hours later, Leal, 41, shot and killed his mother, Tania Perez Creek, 59, in a home in the 14200 block of Bridgewater Crossings Boulevard in the Summerport community.

The uncharacteristic violence rocked the typically safe Horizon West community. The night of the shooting, neighbors watched as officers roped off and investigated the scene.

After the shooting, someone left a bouquet of flowers at the front door of the home.

Andrew Flores, who lives two houses down from the residence, came home from work the night of the incident to a heavy police presence near his home and police markers and police tape lining his street.

“My heart sank immediately because I’d never seen anything like that,” Flores said. “I asked an officer what happened. He said there was an incident. He didn’t specify, but then later I found out there was a murder that happened. … I’m shocked that it happened here in an area like this, but it can happen anywhere.”

Pam Soderberg lives out of state but is currently visiting her son — who lives next to the residence — for the summer. She said she remembers Creek as the friendliest of the three but also said the family kept to themselves.

“We were shocked,” Soderberg said. “They never seemed to bother anybody. … (My son) never had any conflict (with them). … They never caused trouble.”

Leal was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

TIMELINE OF A TRAGEDY

At 8.47 p.m., Creek called 911 and stated, “My son is getting crazy over here,” according to an arrest report.

Deputies were dispatched to the residence. Upon arrival, a deputy noticed the home’s front door was open and saw Leal slam it shut.

About five to 10 seconds later, as responding deputies approached the home, deputies heard the sound of a woman screaming followed by gunshots, according to the report.

Deputies secured the perimeter of the home and spoke with Petrone, who told deputies his stepson shot Creek and was still inside the home.

Deputies caught Leal trying to exit from a back door of the residence.

Wueizman Saul Leal, 41, is accused of first-degree murder.

Inside the home, deputies discovered Creek with multiple gunshot wounds and administered life-saving measures until Orange County Fire Rescue arrived. She was taken to Florida Hospital Winter Garden, where she later died.

According to the police report, Petrone told the homicide investigator he was about to leave to go to work at 9 a.m. that morning. Before he exited the home, he noticed Leal holding a black handgun and advised him to go to a gun range to release his energy.

Once Petrone got off work at about 7 p.m., he ate dinner at a restaurant with Creek. When they arrived home, Creek got into a conversation with Leal over money and Leal finding a job. The conversation escalated into an argument.

Petrone told investigators he then saw Leal pacing around the home with a handgun, waving it around in the air in fury. Petrone said he made an effort to calm Leal down.

Petrone then heard the sound of a door being kicked in, followed by gunshots. When he walked into the bedroom, he saw Creek with gunshot wounds and tried to call 911 but was confronted by Leal, who threatened his life. Petrone then fled the residence via the back door, where he met with responding deputies.

It was not unusual for Creek and Leal to have heated arguments. However, this was the first time an argument evolved into violence, Petrone told investigators.

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Gabby Baquero and Eric Gutierrez contributed to this report.

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