of The Orlando Sentinel
Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel
Police in Bell, Florida received a 911 call
on September 18 from a man claiming he had harmed several people in a family residence and would be harming himself. Shortly after police arrived, the caller, 51-year-old Donald Spirit, shot and killed himself.
Upon inspecting the home, deputies found the bodies of Spirit's 28-year-old daughter Sarah and her six children, all of whom had been shot to death. The children ranged in age from two months to eleven years.
Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz III revealed that Spirit did have a criminal record, and that police had been called to the home where the shooting took place on several prior occasions. Schultz did not provide details regarding these events.
Donald Spirit had previously shot and killed his eight-year-old son in 2001 in an incident which was ruled as a hunting accident. Spirit, who was a convicted felon from drug charges at the time of his son's death, served three years on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the child's death.
on Spirit's record included battery, depriving a child of food and shelter, and DUI. Spirit had last served time in prison in 2009.
In a 2003 interview with the Orlando Sentinel
, Spirit claimed that he had mental health issues stemming from his son's death and had been admitted for treatment. Spirit said that had been put on medication but that "the medication, I've tried it. It ain't working. The one medicine I have is my family".
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