Saturday 19 January 2019

Man kills daughter, 6 grandchildren and himself in Florida family horror

A convicted criminal killed six of his grandchildren, his adult daughter and himself in a shooting at his home in Florida.

Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz identified the shooter as 51-year-old Don Spirit of Bell, a small town in the rural north of the state.

He would not say if the woman killed was the mother of any of the two boys and four girls, some of whom spent a lot of time at the house.

Mr Schultz said a deputy who arrived after Spirit called emergency services to say he might harm himself and others made contact with the man, who then killed himself. The authorities then found the other seven bodies.

The sheriff named the victims as Sarah Lorraine Spirit (28), Kaleb Kuhlmann (10), Kylie Kuhlmann (9), Johnathon Kuhlmann (8), Destiny Stewart (5), Brandon Stewart (4) and baby Alanna Stewart, who was born in June.

Mr Schultz said Spirit was the only suspect and that some people were left alive at the house. He also said Spirit had a criminal history. The Florida Department of Corrections said he was released from prison in February 2006 after being jailed on a gun charge.

According to an online story in 2003, the then 40-year-old Don Spirit pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the fatal shooting of his eight-year-old son, Kyle, in a 2001 hunting accident.

He was sentenced to three years in prison.

The story said that on a walk through the woods with Kyle and an older son, Spirit pointed out rust on the muzzle of his rifle. The rifle fired, hitting Kyle in the head.

Mr Schultz said of the family massacre: "There's still a lot of unanswered questions.

"There's going to be questions that we're never going to get answered."

Following the shooting police cordoned off the length of a dirt road leading to the house near Bell, a town of 350 people.

"Keep this community in your prayers," the sheriff said. "Tomorrow's going to be a hard day in Gilchrest County."


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