A Florida grandfather shot his daughter’s six children, as well as his daughter and himself, in what police are calling a murder-suicide in the town of Bell, Florida.
The murderer has been identified as Don Spirit, according to USA Today. Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz said that they received a 911 call from Spirit, saying that he was having thoughts of harming himself or the children. When police arrived, they found the children, aged 3 months to 10 years, all dead, as well as Bell’s daughter. Spirit then turned the gun on himself.
According to Fox News, police are not commenting on a motive for the mass shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.
“We’re asking for prayers for this community and the victims involved.”
This is not Spirit’s first trouble with the law. Schulz said that police had been called to Spirit’s home on “numerous” occasions. In 2001, Spirit accidentally shot and killed his 8-year-old son on a hunting trip near Kenansville, Florida. He was sentenced to three years for being a felon in possession of a firearm (Spirit had been convicted of felony marijuana possession previously). He took a plea deal days before his trial, according to USA Today, then shortly afterwards moved his family from Tampa to Bell.
As of this post, none of the names of the victims of the Florida mass shooting, other than Don Spirit, have been released to the media.
Schulz said that difficult days lie ahead for the small Florida community of Bell.
“We’re all family here,” Schultz said. “There are certain things in life you can explain; there are certain things you can’t. This is one of those things that I can’t explain. We’ll get through this. I will continue to ask everybody to pray for the families.”
As of this post, police have not revealed what type of firearm was used in the mass shooting.
According to the Census Bureau, Bell has a population of about 450 people, and is one of two incorporated communities Florida’s Gilchrist County. It is located about 140 miles northwest of Orlando.
The most recent mass shooting in Florida was in June of this year, according to this Inquisitr report, when two people were killed in Liberty City.
This is a breaking news story. More information about the Florida mass shooting will be provided as the story develops.
[Image courtesy of: Fox News]