- By Chelsea Todaro Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Hugo Steven Selva, the man fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy on Interstate 95 this week after authorities said he killed his girlfriend, began spiraling downward about seven years ago when he started using drugs and acting violently, according to a man who said he was once friends with Selva.
“He would talk about going out guns blazing, but I honestly thought that it was just an angry kid venting and not something that would eventually boil to the surface and cause a tragedy such as this,” Bobby Stack, 25, told The Post Beach Post on Friday.
Stack said when he was friends with Selva seven years ago, Selva was in a dark place, did not go to school for a brief period, and turned to drugs.
“He had started using drugs around the age of 13,” Stack said of Selva, who was 22 when he died. “Mostly marijuana but also pills and psychedelics. His mom and him argued a lot and it really seemed like he didn’t love her and vice versa.”
Stack, who lives in West Palm Beach, said he became friends with Selva at the age of 17, and said Selva would “wake up, get high, and not do anything else.”
Selva also acted violently at times and would get into a few fights, threatening people, Stack said.
Stack said he hung around Selva because he “seemed sad on the inside and knew he needed help.” He stopped being friends with Selva when he “started to get darker and more violent.”
“He lost the majority of his friends when that happened. He sent me some messages on Facebook trying to fight me because of that, but i just ignored them,” Stack said.
Another friend of Selva said the man suffered health issues. He also said Selva turned to drugs as a teenager.
Walt Macciel, a Greenacres resident, told the Post via a text message on Friday that he’d known Selva since they were kids and “he was like a brother.”
“I can tell you that he was a very nice guy, down to earth,” said Macciel, who said he didn’t know what health issues Selva suffered.
Authorities say they believe Selva shot one man Tuesday afternoon in West Palm Beach, then another early Wednesday in Boynton Beach, then fatally shot Nicole Marie Novak — his girlfriend and the mother of their 3-month-old daughter — outside a Lake Worth grocery store.
They say Selva then shoved her into his car before racing the wrong way down I-95 and causing three crashes near Lantana Road prior to being fatally shot by a deputy.
“I have no idea what could have made him make such a horrible decision,” Macciel said. “He would always ask me to pray for him, and lately he was worried about his health.”
A text-message conversation between Macciel and Selva from a few weeks ago shows Selva telling Macciel he was going to see a man named Pedro after having surgery, but it is not known what the surgery was for.
“Thanks I need you more than ever in Jesus,” Selva said to Macciel.