LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Three adults are dead and four children were removed from a home after an apparent murder-suicide in Florida Christmas Eve night.
The incident happened at a house in Lakeland, which is about 35 miles east of Tampa.
The Lakeland Police Department got the 911 call around 5:30 p.m. Officers responded to the residence in just four minutes.
Officials said Leighton Josephs, 30, entered 3009 Atlanta Avenue and shot a man and a woman. He then shot himself.
Four children, all under the age of 10, were inside the home during the shooting. Police used tactical measures and rescued all four children safely.
Authorities would only identify the victims as a 30-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man. WFLA spoke to relatives of the victims who say they are Racheal Ramsey and Christopher Pine.
The woman’s uncle said two of the four children were her kids. He said they are currently with their grandparents.
Being that Christmas may never be the same for those children, people in the community like William Dunn are stepping in to help.
“It touches my hurt,” Dunn said. “I get a lot of people that give to me so I want to give back. The community really comes together on tragic stuff like this.”
Dunn helps children in need within Polk County through his organization Take a Kid Fishing. He works with local group homes, homeless shelters and families in need by taking them fishing.
“I deal with kids on an everyday basis that are in foster care and kids that are fatherless,” Dunn said. “I deal with a lot of their stories and this kind of related to some of their stories and that’s why I stepped in.”
Dunn is working with Dr. Joseph Davis, Executive Director of Anchor House, to make this all happen. Anchor House is a group home that houses boys who come from traumatic situations.
Together, Dunn and Davis are collecting toys, clothes and money for the children rescued Christmas Eve.
“We’re familiar with traumatic events, of course, this is just horrible, but many of our boys come from those situations so we wanted to lend a helping hand,” Davis said.
The Lakeland Police Department is still investigating the murder-suicide.
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