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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Man wanted for fatally shooting woman at Marion Oaks plaza

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from the community to locate a 33-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed a woman at a shopping plaza in Marion Oaks last month.

Shortly after 1:55 p.m. on Friday, January 12, MCSO deputies responded to the BP gas station located at 168 Marion Oaks Boulevard in Ocala in reference to shots being fired in the area.

MCSO shots fired at Marion County Shopping plaza (January 12, 2024)
A large police presence, including MCSO deputies, responded to a shopping plaza in Marion Oaks on January 12, 2024, in reference to a shooting incident. (Photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

When deputies arrived on scene, they located a deceased female victim who had sustained several fatal gunshot wounds. She was later identified as 47-year-old Milagros Guzman Lopez.

Milagros Guzman Lopez
Milagros Guzman Lopez, 47, was fatally shot in Marion Oaks on January 12, 2024.

Witnesses told deputies that a male shooter, later identified as Melvin Arias, had arrived at the shopping plaza, and a heated argument with Lopez had ensued in front of a nearby business.

Detectives ID victim in fatal shooting at Marion Oaks plaza gunman still at large
Melvin Arias, 33, has been identified as the suspected gunman in the fatal shooting of Milagros Guzman Lopez on January 12, 2024.

According to MCSO, the witnesses advised that Arias retrieved a firearm from his vehicle and shot Lopez before fleeing the scene.

In a social media post on Wednesday, February 7, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods stated that Arias is believed to have fled out of state, and he is likely traveling with a woman identified as Marangely Burgos.

MCSO Wanted by Woods Wednesday (February 7, 2024) Melvin Arias with Marangely Burgos
MCSO detectives believe that Melvin Arias (left) is currently traveling out of state with Marangely Burgos (center).

If you have any information that can be used to locate Arias or Burgos, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office asks that you call 352-368-3542 or the MCSO non-emergency number of 352-732-9111.

Anyone wanting to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP(7867), and reference 24-08 in your tip.