A Florida man is accused of fatally gunning down four people, including a 4-year-old girl, as other terrified children hid under blankets in what authorities described as a “horrific” mass shooting, FOX 35 reports.
“It’s never easy to make sense of these tragedies,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina told reporters at a press conference on Friday, according to WESH-TV. “I’m a father, I can’t imagine or fathom such an incident involving my loved ones.”
Investigators believe that around 4 a.m. Friday, 23-year-old Shavell Jordan Jones shot and killed his 29-year-old girlfriend, the girlfriend’s 49-year-old mother, the girlfriend’s 28-year-old sister and a 4-year-old girl.
All four victims were found dead with gunshot wounds to their heads, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Jones allegedly shot a fifth person – a female relative of his girlfriend – who was able to escape the carnage and call 911 at a neighbor’s home. The surviving victim is the mother of the 4-year-old who died.
Investigators believe Jones then shot himself.
The shooting, which Mina said was “horrific,” occurred at a house in the Union Park area of east Orange County, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Officers who responded to the scene found two children in the home who hid under blankets amid the shooting and were not physically harmed. The surviving children were the 4-year-old twin sister of the deceased child and her 6-year-old sister.
Authorities believe that Jones got into an argument with his girlfriend and had started to pack up items he owned before the shooting.
“At some point, Jones began to remove some of his belongings from the home and then re-entered the home and began shooting,” Mina said, according to WESH-TV.
Police do not believe there was a history of domestic violence between Jones and any of the victims. His only criminal history was failure to appear in a misdemeanor case a couple of years earlier.
In an interview with FOX 35, Jones’ sister, whose name was not provided, said she could not fathom the accusations against her brother.
“I understand he was drunk and whatever, but still, a kid?” the sister told the television station. “He’s not this type of kid. He’s not. He’s always smiling, he’s always at the house with family, he’s always chillin’, playing games with us. I just don’t understand.”
Jones, who is in critical condition at a Florida hospital, faces criminal charges that include four counts of first-degree murder with a firearm.
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[Featured image: Shavell Jordan Jones/Police handout]