A suspect and four children are dead after a hostage situation spanning nearly 24 hours ended on Monday night, June 11, police have said.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters that officers responded to a domestic violence incident at the Westbrook Apartments complex after a woman was reportedly assaulted by her boyfriend late on June 10.
The officers and the suspect exchanged gunfire resulting in one officer being shot and wounded. The suspect then barricaded himself inside an apartment with four young children—aged one, six, 10, and 11—inside.
According to Mina, two of the children belonged to the suspect while the other two belonged to his girlfriend.
Police identified the suspect as 35-year-old Gary Lindsey Jr.
Negotiators were brought in to communicate with Lindsey and to urge him to release the children. Officials said the last time they spoke with him was at 9 p.m. on Monday, reported WESH-TV.
During communication with the suspect, authorities noticed that one of the children was dead when they tried to give Lindsey another phone on which to communicate.
SWAT officers then entered the home after 9 p.m. and found Lindsey dead in a closet. The other three children were also found dead with apparent gunshot wounds.
About 60 people from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office were involved with the investigation, including a bomb squad team, reported ClickOrlando.com.
The officer who was shot earlier was identified as Officer Kevin Valencia who is in his late 20s. Mina said Valencia was in a critical condition but he is expected to survive. The officer has been with the agency for less than two years, according to the news website.
According to court records, Lindsey has an extensive criminal history with arrests for arson and domestic violence.
Some of the residents living near the home of the suspect at Westbrook Apartments have since been evacuated, reported WESH-TV. A witness said soon after the gunshots. officers went door-to-door ordering them to grab what they could and evacuate.
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