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South Florida War Vet Killed In Pennsylvania

MIAMI (CBS4) - A South Florida man who survived the war in Afghanistan was murdered in a senseless crime back home in the states.

The family of Gilberto Alvarez is searching for answers. They can't understand why a man shot Alvarez in the side of his head on February 11th.

Alvarez had moved away from his family in Miami after he was discharged from the military. The 28-year-old had been living in rural Pennsylvania for nearly a year. That is where investigators said Lloyd Thomas shot and killed Alvarez along with his military buddy, Joshua Rogers.

"It's hard, it's hard to lose any family member, especially a big brother," said Ashlee Benet, his sister. "He's the only older sibling that I have and he just was such a great person."

Benet said Alvarez graduated from high school early so that he could join the military at the tender age of 17.

"Since he was very little, even before I was born, mom always tells me he always wanted to be Rambo," recalled Benet. "So his dream was always to be in the army. He dressed up as soldiers every single year for Halloween."

A dream that he was able to fulfill. Alvarez spent four years in the army with two tours dodging bullets and bombs in Afghanistan. He then joined the reserves and ultimately became a marine.

When he returned home he went to work on oil rigs in Pennsylvania.

"He was happy," said Benet. "He had a job. He had his own place. He was making something of himself and it just sucks to see it end so soon."

Benet said she'll miss their daily talks on the phone.

"Sometimes he didn't even have a reason he just he'd call and sing to you and even sometimes I'd be and work and I'm like 'Gilbert, you know, I'm at work right now' and he'd say 'No, just listen for a minute."

The little things that seem so big now that he's gone, his death still a mystery.

Thomas claims he shot the men in self-defense. But investigators said Thomas could be facing double murder charges.

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