Students and staff at Lake Gibson Middle School experienced a painful and emotional day dealing with the tragic loss of two familiar faces: Assistant Principal Samara Routenberg and 6th Grade Teacher Lisa Fuillerat.
Investigators say on Friday Fuillerat’s estranged husband, Vincente, broke into her Brandon home and killed them both before turning the gun on himself.
ORIGINAL STORY | Three dead bodies found at Brandon house
“She was always one of the greatest teachers out there,” said Cristal Jerome, a former student of Lisa’s. “She helped me understand math quite a bit.”
Jerome is one of several students to add to the makeshift memorial on the fence outside the school as a way to honor the two educators.
The fence is now decorated with flowers, stuffed animals, and heartbreaking cards. Even Routenberg’s parking space is now adorned with mementos.
RELATED STORY: Lake Gibson Middle teacher, assistant principal identified as victims in Brandon murder-suicide
“Our families were very, very close,” said Joyce Cohen, who drove from Mt. Dora Monday to drop off flowers at the memorial at the school. She said she’s an old family friend.
“I was listening to the news and I heard the name Samara Routenberg and I just couldn’t believe that something like this could happen to such a sweet girl and a grown woman.”
Investigators now believe that Fuillerat and Routenberg — who were in a romantic relationship — may have feared something like this might happen.
According to court records, Lisa had a restraining order against Vincente and it appears both women were armed during Friday’s attack.
Back in 2015, records also show that Vincente was arrested for attacking Routenberg. The police report only shows her as a “roommate” of Lisa — it’s unclear if they were in a relationship at that time.
During Friday’s shooting, investigators say Vincente wore a bullet proof vest and came equipped with extra ammo.
“A double murder-suicide. I just can’t believe it,” Cohen said outside the school.
What’s hard for grown adults to comprehend, is nearly impossible for the young kids who the two victims taught.
Grief counselors were on hand Monday at Lake Gibson Middle School to try and help staff and students get through the heartache.
“As sad as this is, and it’s just unbearably sad, it’s nice to see the community coming out, showing support, and just trying to do whatever it can do to show that it’s standing with the family and the school community,” said Jason Geary, Spokesperson for Polk County Schools.
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