DELTONA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A Florida man was gunned down in an ambush by the jealous ex-boyfriend of the victim's new girlfriend, deputies say.
Patrick De La Cerda, 25, was shot and killed inside own Deltona home. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood says it started with a phone call from the murder suspect, saying a package was being delivered to the home, getting the victim to walk to the front door.
"This clearly was an out and out assassination," says Sheriff Chitwood. "This was months and months and months of planning."
Investigators say Gregory Bender, 50, was upset his girlfriend broke up with him and moved on with De La Cerda. Deputies say Bender stalked De La Cerda and his ex-girlfriend so much, deputies were called to the home multiple times to investigate threats.
De La Cerda's girlfriend got a restraining order against Bender. De La Cerda also filed for a restraining, but it was denied. Even so, the sheriff says it likely wouldn't have helped.
"A protective order is nothing but a piece of paper. In a case like this, it clearly shows a piece of paper can't protect anyone against a high powered rifle."
Deputies found De La Cerda lying on his floor on Tuesday morning, dead from a gunshot wound. Deputies believe Bender sneaked onto the property right before attacking his victim. De La Cerda's family still cant believe he's gone.
"Wonderful kind man, loving heart, always willing to help others, family. Just a great Christian all around. Just starting his life as an adult," said his uncle, Steve De La Cerda. "Had a lot of dreams. Unfortunately they've been cut short."
Bender was arrested in Orange County on Thursday. Sheriff Chitwood said a massive amount of evidence has been collected at Bender's Windermere home. Bender is being held without bond.