6 children, 2 adults dead in Florida shooting

Six of the victims were children ranging in age from 3 months to 10 years.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published Sep 18, 2014   Updated May 30, 2021, 1:43 pm CDT

Eight people are dead, including the gunman, after a mass shooting in Bell, Fla., The Gainesville Sun is reporting.

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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.

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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.

#bellshooting suspect Don Charles Spirit #gtn @mygtn pic.twitter.com/qHoxbqubPf

— 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

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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.

From the scene: A Gilchrist Deputy keeps people from going down NW 29th Terr. #BellShooting http://t.co/NYxvTUTTdu

— GainesvilleSun (@GainesvilleSun) September 18, 2014

#BellShooting: Gilchrist Sheriff’s Office confirms that a grandfather killed his daughter and his six grandchildren in #Bell

— FCN2go (@FCN2go) September 19, 2014

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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.

#BREAKING #BellShooting @FOX5Atlanta Gilchrist FL Sheriff “we’re all famiy here. I’ve never handled anything like this before.” #fox5atl

— 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

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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.

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H/T The Gainseville Sun | Photo via dogulove/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Sep 18, 2014, 10:00 pm CDT