A convicted felon, grandfather, and dad, shot his daughter and six grandchildren before taking his own life in a Florida home Thursday, police said. The shooter, who was identified as 51-year-old Don Spirit, took his own life after police officers arrived at the grisly scene in Bell, outside of Gainsesville, Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz said. Schultz said that the authorities found the bodies of the seven victims “all over on the property.” The children’s ages ranged from 10-weeks to 11-years-old.
Spirit, a convicted felon, had a lengthy criminal track record stretching back 22 years, according to Florida corrections records. Reports from 2003 show that one charge, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, came after he pleaded guilty to accidently shooting and killing his 8-year-old son while they were hunting together. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Spirit was also convicted of depriving a child of food and shelter, battery, and possession of drug paraphernalia between 1992 and 1995 NBC News reports. Schultz said this wasn’t the first time police had been to the property stating that they had “been out to that residence on numerous law enforcement occasions.”
Police said they believe Spirit shot more than one person at in the home, but declined to comment where the other shootings took place.
Spirit, being a convicted felon, was not allowed to have a gun, Gilchrist County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jeff Manning said Friday. The sheriff’s office hasn’t disclosed how Spirit obtained a gun or what type of gun he used.
The victims were identified as Sarah Lorraine Spirit, 28, and her daughters Alanna Stewart, 2½ months, Brandon Stewart, 4, Destiny Stewart, 5, and Kylie Kuhlmann, 9, and sons Johnathon Kuhlmann, 8, and Kaleb Kuhlmann, 11. “This is something you can’t explain,” Schultz said at a press conference. “I will continue to ask everybody to pray for the families.”