ORLANDO, Fla. — Four children are dead following a hostage situation and a standoff with a suspect accused of shooting an Orlando police officer in the face.
Funeral services have been arranged for the kids, WFTV reports.
An attorney representing the family said a funeral mass will be held Saturday at St. James Catholic Cathedral on N. Orange Ave. in Orlando, and it will be open to the public.
The attorney released the following statement via WFTV:
“The family is continuing to grieve considerably and coming to the realization that the children are not coming home. A private visitation will be held this week for immediate family. There will be a funeral mass held on Saturday, June 23rd at St. James Catholic Cathedral Church (215 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801) in downtown Orlando at 12 noon to honor the lives of the children. This will be open to the public, to offer their prayers and condolences. But please understand that parking and space will be limited. We are forever grateful for your outpouring of support for Ciara, and invite you to share in this day with us, celebrating the lives of these beautiful children.”
Nearly 24 hours after an Orlando police officer was shot in the face and four children were taken hostage, Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters that the gunman was dead, and all four children in the apartment died of "apparent gunshot wounds."
Mina said they made contact with Gary Lindsey around 8:30 p.m. Monday night. While trying to give Lindsey a cell phone with better reception to communicate, the chief said one of his officers noticed a child in the home appeared to be dead. That is when Mina said they made the decision to try and save the other children.
ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska heard a loud explosion just before 9:00 p.m. Monday night. Mina said that was the SWAT team going in to try and save the children. Officers found all four children, Iraya, age 11, Lillia, age 10, Aidan, age 6, and Dove, age 1, dead.
Courtesy: Alberto Lopez
Lindsey committed suicide inside a bedroom closet.
It is not clear at this point how long the children were deceased inside the apartment.
The standoff started around 11:45 p.m. Sunday night when an officer with the Orlando Police Department was shot while responding to a domestic violence call at the Westbrook Apartment complex near Universal.
As officers approached Lindsey opened fire striking Ofc. Kevin Valencia.
OPD @ChiefJohnMina: Our main concern right now is the children that are being held hostage in the apartment with suspect who shot and seriously wounded one of our officers responding to a domestic violence call. pic.twitter.com/Y8PwAq30Ic
The officer was shot in the eye receiving a very serious injury which required surgery. Chief Mina stated during a news conference Monday morning, the officer was out of surgery and recovering. His condition was listed as critical.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina provided more information on the incident during a press conference on Monday morning.
Mina said Lindsey had previous arrests for domestic violence and arson. He was on felony probation at the time the standoff began.
During a 3:00 p.m. news conference Monday, more than 14 hours after the standoff began, Mina told reporters he believed the children were still alive.
Mina said a police crisis intervention team had been trying to talk Lindsey into surrendering peacefully.
"Right now the suspect is barricaded in his apartment," Mina said at the time. "He has spoken with us a couple of times, but has hung up the phone on us a couple of times, too."
The incident began when Lindsey's girlfriend contacted police to report that he had battered her, and she directed officers to an apartment in the Westbrook complex, Mina said.
The mother met with police outside the complex, authorities said.
Lindsey is the father of two of the children, and the other two belong to his girlfriend.
Late Monday night members of the Orange County Sheriff's Office brought in floodlights and several portable toilets were dropped off. The chief said they did everything they could to make sure this ended peacefully with no children or Lindsey getting hurt.
A GoFundme has been created to help with funeral expenses for the children. The GoFundme was created by a friend of the children's grandfather.
"These beautiful babies never hurt anyone. Ciara lost her children Iraya, age 11, Lillia, age 10, Aidan, age 6, and beautiful little Dove, age 1-year-old. It is a tragic ending to a night of horror," the GoFundme reads.
A separate GoFundme has been created to support Ofc. Valencia.