National News

Florida Man Kills 4 Children and Himself, Ending 21-Hour Hostage Standoff

Posted June 12, 2018 1:55 a.m. EDT

A man fatally shot four children and then himself late Monday in Orlando, Florida, capping a 21-hour standoff that began after the man shot a police officer who had responded to a domestic violence call, the authorities said.

The man, Gary Lindsey Jr., 35, was discovered dead in a closet around 9 p.m. after the authorities entered the apartment where he had hunkered down with the children — ages 1, 6, 10 and 11.

Two of the children were Lindsey’s, and the other two belonged to someone else, Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department said at a news conference late Monday, without specifying to whom. He said it was not clear when the children were killed, but added that when officers tried to provide Lindsey with a phone to better communicate with him, they became aware that at least one child was dead.

“That’s when we decided to start our plans to make entry and try to rescue the rest of the children,” Mina said, adding that the episode had “a very tragic and sad ending.”

“Our hearts go out to the families of those four children,” Mina continued.

The episode began about 11:45 p.m. Sunday when Orlando police officers responded to a call at an apartment complex two miles north of Universal Studios Florida. A woman had contacted officers from elsewhere, telling them that her boyfriend, Lindsey, had battered her after an argument, authorities said.

When officers confronted Lindsey, he opened fire, striking Officer Kevin Valencia, who suffered what Mina called a “very serious and significant injury.” At least one officer fired back.

As of early Tuesday, Valencia, who has been with the department since 2016 and is in his late 20s, remained in critical condition, Mina said.

Lindsey then barricaded himself in his apartment along with the four children.

Over the next 21 hours, the authorities urged Lindsey to release the children. Negotiators spoke with him several times throughout the standoff, and had made contact with him as late as about 8:30 p.m. Monday, just before SWAT officers entered the apartment.

Public records show that Lindsey had been arrested repeatedly over the last 15 years, with a criminal record in at least two Florida counties. In 2007 he was convicted of petty theft, and in 2009 he pleaded no contest to charges of arson and trying to elude the police. In 2012, he was arrested again, in Orange County, on three charges: violation of probation, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery in a case of domestic violence.