Sept. 5 (UPI) — A self-described “survivalist” wearing body armor shot and killed four people and injured an 11-year-old girl in Florida early Sunday, police said.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the shootings took place at 4:30 a.m. in two separate houses at a neighborhood in North Lakeland, Fla., and that the suspect engaged in two separate shootouts with police “in short order” before he was injured and surrendered. North Lakeland is between Tampa and Orlando.
After the suspect was in custody, police found a man, woman and an infant child dead inside one home along with an 11-year-old girl who had been shot “multiple times.” Another woman was found dead in a second house on the property.
No police officers were injured in the shootouts.
The 11-year-old was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital for surgery and another child, originally reported missing was located alive and well.
“This man killed four people this morning, tried to kill our deputies and then gave up,” Judd said.
The suspect was taken to Lakeland Regional Hospital where he attempted to grab an officer’s gun before being subdued for treatment. He will be booked upon release from the hospital, Judd said.
Judd added the man described himself as “a survivalist” and said he was on methamphetamine.
“He came here for a gun battle,” said Judd. “We don’t know why.”
On Saturday, before the shooting a woman called police to report a suspicious vehicle and said that a man told her “God sent me here to speak with one of your daughters,” Judd said.
Deputies responded within six minutes and did not find the suspect or the car at the residence but nine hours later deputies about two miles away heard automatic gunfire.
Upon arriving at the scene officers said they saw “an individual totally outfitted in body armor” but said he did not engage them and instead went back into the house.
“At that moment in time, we heard another volley and a woman scream and a baby whimper,” Judd said.
A lieutenant then attempted to enter the house but found it was barricaded. The lieutenant then entered the house through the back and exchanged gunfire with the suspect.