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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Residents stand outside their apartment after a gunman held four children hostage before taking their life and his own Tuesday in Orlando, Fla.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 1:00 am

4 children dead after standoff

Hostage taker also shot officer then killed self

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Florida felon who authorities say killed four children after a daylong standoff that started with the shooting of an officer had recently violated his parole, and his parole officer recommended that he be put in jail for six months. Instead he was given supervised probation, court records show.

Gary Lindsey was arrested last month for theft and then jailed for violating his probation from a decade-old arson charge, the records show. His probation officer said Lindsey posed no threat to the community but she still recommended that he be incarcerated for six months.

However, Lindsey's sister agreed to pay $1,000 and he agreed to pay $300 a month toward restitution, and his supervised probation was reinstated during a court hearing. The records show Lindsey had been working at an auto center in Orlando.

The 21-hour standoff began Sunday when Lindsey's girlfriend left the apartment and told police she had been battered. Lindsey fired at responding officers, seriously wounding one of them. He then holed up inside the apartment for much of the day with the four children, who they say ranged in age from 1 to 11. The girlfriend was the mother of all four children and Lindsey was the father of two of them, said family friend Walter Benenati.

“We heard gunshots, and I saw through the window that the policeman was down,” neighbor Miguel Lopez said. “The top stair was full of blood. They took the police officer down. ... It was horrible.”

Officer Kevin Valencia was in critical condition but was expected to survive, Orlando police Chief John Mina said. One officer was able to return fire. Valencia is in his late 20s and has been with the police department since 2016.

Lindsey, 35, was found dead in a closet when officers entered the apartment about 9 p.m. Monday, more than 21 hours after the standoff started, Mina said at a news conference.

Mina said officers tried to offer one of their phones to Lindsey, whose phone had spotty service, so that they could continue negotiations with him via telephone. When they got to the apartment, however, they saw one of the children had been killed and decided to enter the apartment to rescue the others. All were found dead of gunshot wounds.

A police spokeswoman said Tuesday that the medical examiner, as part of an investigation, would determine when exactly the children were killed.

“Losing four children is unfathomable,” said Benenati, who added that the mother was in a state of shock.

Benenati said the oldest child, a boy named Irayan, loved video games and was an overachiever at school. Lillia, the 10-year-old, was a huge Disney fan and enjoyed being with her friends. He said 6-year-old Aidan had a dinosaur obsession and 22-month-old Dove liked to run.

The woman was the mother of all four children. Lindsey was the father of Aidan and Dove, he said.