Orlando – A man suspected of killing a woman on Wednesday in Florida returned to the scene of the crime hours later and gunned down a television reporter and a nine-year-old girl, authorities said.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said that a 19-year-old man had been taken into custody and was believed responsible for the shootings.
The attacks occurred in Pine Hills, a suburb west of Orlando in central Florida. A 20-year-old woman was slain there at around 11am, the sheriff’s department said Wednesday.
A news team from cable TV outlet Spectrum News13, which is owned by Charter Communications, arrived hours later to cover the murder, Mina said at an evening news conference.
Shortly after 4pm time, Moses arrived and opened fire on a Spectrum camera operator and a reporter as they stood near their vehicle, killing the reporter and wounding the camera operator, the sheriff added.
The gunman then entered a nearby home and shot a woman and her nine-year-old daughter.
None of victims was identified by name at the time.
“We have detained the person believed to be responsible for the murder this morning, as well as the shootings this afternoon,” Mina said.
The suspect was identified as Keith Melvin Moses, 19,. He was arrested shortly after shooting the TV news team and the mother and daughter, about a block away from each other.
Moses was detained as a suspect in both those attacks and was formally charged in the killing of the woman in her 20s hours earlier, Mina said.
Mina said the suspect was armed with a pistol when taken into custody and has a lengthy criminal record that included arrests on charges of firearms offences aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft.
He said no motive had been determined for any of the shootings on Wednesday, but he said Moses was believed to have been an acquaintance of the first victim, who was shot while sitting in a car with the suspected gunman and another person.
The sheriff said he did not know whether the two newsmen were targeted because they were journalists, adding that their vehicle lacked the logos and markings typically seen on a media vehicle.
“As far as we know, he had no connection to the reporters and no connection to the mother or the 9-year old, and we don’t know why he entered their home,” the sheriff said.
He said both the mother and the surviving journalist were in hospital in critical condition.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre posted a message of condolences on Twitter.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the crew member injured in Orange County, Florida, as well as the whole Spectrum News team,” she said.
AFP and REUTERS