Eight people are dead, including the gunman, after a mass shooting in Bell, Fla., The Gainesville Sun is reporting.
In a press conference, the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that 51-year-old Don Charles Spirit, who allegedly has a criminal history, shot his daughter, Sarah Spirit, and her six children. The children killed ranged in age from 3 months to 10 years.
The sheriff confirmed that police spoke to Spirit after he called 911, but they believe that Spirit killed himself after deputies arrived at his house.
— Rochelle Alleyne (@ralleyne14) September 19, 2014
Police made contact with Bell shooter before killing himself. 8 people confirmed dead. #BellShooting
— lauren verno (@laurenverno) September 19, 2014
According to police, Gilchrist County deputies responded to an incident in Bell at approximately 4pm Thursday and told residents that citizens weren’t in danger.
— GainesvilleSun (@GainesvilleSun) September 18, 2014
— FCN2go (@FCN2go) September 19, 2014
The Sheriff’s Office asked for citizens’ thoughts and prayers and explained that they had never dealt with anything like this before. That sentiment was echoed among residents.
— Paul Gourley (@pgourleyEP) September 19, 2014
Bell resident just told me, “things like this don’t happen here. This is the kind of town where people leave doors unlocked.” #BellShooting
— Hailey Holloway (@HHollowayNews) September 19, 2014
This is horrible news coming out of Bell. #BellShooting
— Sean Myers (@GatorSean8301) September 19, 2014
We’ll update this story as information becomes available.
Update 9/18/14 8:04pm CT: A 2003 Orlando Sentinel report confirmed Spirit was convicted for felony possession of marijuana in 1998 and took a plea bargain for three years in prison after his son, Kyle, died in a shooting accident. According to Florida law, it is illegal for felons to own firearms.