Police: Gunman killed 4 children at beginning of Orlando hostage standoff

Police: Gunman killed 4 children at beginning of Orlando hostage standoff
Photo via Walter Benenati
The gunman who killed four children at an Orlando apartment this week likely shot them at the start of his 21-hour standoff with law enforcement.

Detectives believe Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr. fired at the children while they slept in their beds around the time Lindsey was confronted by Orlando Police officers Sunday.

Officers responded to Westbrook Apartments that night after a woman reported her boyfriend, 35-year-old Lindsey, had battered her. Police say that when officers confronted Lindsey, he shot at them, hitting Officer Kevin Valencia in the head.

Lindsey barricaded himself in the apartment with his girlfriend's children, and for almost a day, law enforcement officials tried to negotiate a peaceful surrender and pleaded for the safety of Irayan Pluth, 12; Lillia Pluth, 10; Aidan Lindsey, 6; and Dove Lindsey, 1. Around 9 p.m. on Monday, a SWAT team discovered Lindsey had shot and killed the kids before killing himself. Lindsey was reportedly the father of Aidan and Dove.

But authorities now believe that for the majority of the 21-hour hostage negotiations between Lindsey and police, the four children were dead. Investigators found the children deceased in their respective beds, wearing the same bedtime clothes their mother reported they were dressed in when she put them to bed, Orlando Police say.

"Based on the condition of the victims' bodies at the time of discovery, coupled with a thorough review of the investigation so far regarding the case, OPD homicide detectives believe the children were killed while they slept, either shortly before or shortly after the suspect's initial contact with OPD officers," the agency said in a statement.

Officer Kevin Valencia was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition. GoFundMe pages raising funds for the families of the children and Valencia have been set up here and here.

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