June 12 (UPI) — Four children died after they were held hostage for nearly 24 hours at a Florida home by a man accused of shooting a police officer, authorities said Tuesday.
Orlando, Fla., police chief John Mina said early Tuesday suspect Gary Lindsey shot the children, aged between 1 and 11 years old, and then killed himself. Police said two were his biological children and two belonged to his ex-girlfriend.
“We had been working very hard during this long day to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution. Unfortunately, it has a very tragic and sad ending,” Mina said.
The standoff started late Sunday when police were called to a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex near Orlando’s Universal Studios. Lindsey’s ex-girlfriend had escaped the home and fled to a nearby restaurant, where she called police.
Authorities said when police arrived at the complex, Lindsey shot officer Kevin Valencia.
Residents were evacuated and taken to a nearby hotel.
Police said negotiators lost contact with Lindsey Monday night and sent SWAT officers in to give Lindsey a phone. Inside, they saw one child dead. They later found the remaining three.
Officials said Lindsey’s body was found in a closet, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Valencia is hospitalized with critical injuries.
Residents of the complex were allowed to return early Tuesday.
Authorities said Lindsey had been arrested three times since 2004, including a no contest plea in 2009 for arson and unlawful flight. He was sentenced to 35 years of community supervision, and during that time was arrested for multiple probation violations. He was charged with aggravated battery and assault in 2012.