A man in Bell, Florida, killed his daughter and six grandchildren on Thursday before turning the gun on himself, according to the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office.
The man, identified as 51-year-old Don Spirit, called 911 around 4 p.m. before he committed suicide, Sheriff Robert Schultz said. An officer arrived at the man's home and talked with him, Schultz said, and Spirit then killed himself. The woman and children, who ranged from 3 months to 10 years old, all died off apparent gunshot wounds.
Officers had had contact with residents of the home before, Schultz said. No motive was known for the shooting.
"I do know that we have been out to that residence on many law enforcement occasions," he said.
His daughter was Sarah Spirit, 28. Her children were later identified as Kylie Kuhlmann, 9; Kaleb Kuhlmann, 11; Jonathan Kuhlmann, 8; Destiny Stewart, 5; Brandon Stewart, 4; and Alanna Stewart, who had been born in late June. Court records show Spirit had been in a dispute with his daughter over unpaid child support earlier this year.
Records also show Spirit had previously served three years in prison on a firearms violation. The Orlando Sentinel reported at the time that he pleaded guilty to the charge after accidentally killing his 8-year-old son in a 2001 hunting accident. WFTV also reported his criminal record included drug charges, battery, and a hit-and run incident.
Local schools were planning to provide counseling to students of the small community.
"[As] a small county, we're all family here," Schultz said.
"Tomorrow's going to be a hard day for a lot of children in Gilchrist County."