Gun violence in the US

Gunman in Florida ‘is holding four kids hostage after a shooting cop near Universal Orlando theme park’

The stand-off has stretched beyond 14 hours, with negotiators trying to convince the suspect to surrender without further bloodshed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, 4:06am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 3:28am

A man who shot a police officer has barricaded himself inside a flat with four children, authorities in Orlando, Florida, said on Monday.

Officers arrived at a flat complex near the Universal Orlando theme park late Sunday after a woman said she been battered by the suspect, whom she described as her boyfriend, police said. The police have identified the suspect as Gary Wayne Lindsey Jnr, 35.

The four hostages are aged one, seven, 10 and 12, police said.

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As the stand-off continued into its 15th hour, Police Chief John Mina said hostage negotiators had been in contact with Lindsey about five times since the early hours of Monday morning, but had not convinced him to surrender.

“My main concern is the safety and well-being of the children inside there,” Mina said.

Lindsey and the police exchanged gunfire, and Officer Kevin Valencia was seriously injured, Mina said. The woman had left the flat after she was allegedly assaulted.

Mina said Valencia had suffered “very significant injuries” but was expected to survive.

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The Orlando Sentinel reported that Lindsey is currently on probation stemming from a 2008 arrest in Volusia County on charges of arson of a dwelling and wilful fleeing or eluding law enforcement. Jail records show that he has been booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail more than a half-dozen times since 2004, the Sentinel said.

Judy Pepper, a resident of the flat complex, told the Sentinel that she looked out her window after hearing the pops of gunfire and saw three people carrying a police officer onto the grass.

She said other officers arrived, cut open his shirt and appeared to be putting bandages on his neck. They then put him in a patrol car and sped away, she said. “I was absolutely terrified,” she said.