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'He was an amazing father': Family struggles to grasp Lakeland quadruple murder

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 19:20:06-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — The family of the four people shot and killed inside a Lakeland home are still trying to grasp what happened.

Justice Gleason was one of the victims murdered during a random attack Sunday morning.

“He was an amazing father. He would do anything in the world for his kids,” said Miranda Watson.

RELATED: 'Survivalist' shooter kills 4 people, including infant, in Lakeland, sheriff says

Watson is the mother of Gleason’s youngest daughter. She is now left figuring out how she will explain to their 4-year-old Olivia, that her father is no longer here, hoping pictures will keep his memory alive.

“I’m going to miss his free spirit. He was always smiling, always happy, and you couldn’t have a bad attitude around him,” Watson said.

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Justice Gleason, a victim of Lakeland quadruple murder

Gleason’s girlfriend, three-month-old son and the baby’s grandmother were also murdered. Deputies said a former decorated war veteran randomly broke into their home and opened fire.

“It blows my mind that somebody could do that to somebody. That baby didn’t deserve that. Theresa and Justice didn’t deserve it. They were just amazing people,” said Watson.

Gleason’s 11-year-old daughter was shot at least seven times but survived. Detectives said the 11-year-old victim told them she played dead. She’s stable after undergoing multiple surgeries.

GoFundMe pages for the girl’s medical bills and funeral expenses for the family have been set up.

Though it won't bring them back, Watson wants to see justice for the family and father of her child taken too soon.

“I just really hope he spends the rest of his life in prison,” she said.