Late Monday evening, a Florida man’s nearly 24-hour standoff with police ended in unimaginable horror, with four children found dead in an Orlando apartment complex. Their alleged killer, Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr., 35, was also found dead in a closet from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“These beautiful babies never hurt anyone,” wrote attorney Walter Benenati on a GoFundMe page that’s raising money to cover funeral expenses for the children’s mother. “It is a tragic ending to a night of horror.”
Lindsey had a history of domestic violence, arson, and theft—and managed to escape assault and battery charges in 2012, when he was still on probation for a previous domestic battery charge, according to court records.
The bloodshed on Monday also began as a domestic dispute. Around 11:45 p.m. Sunday, Orlando police evacuated Westbrook Apartments and surrounded the complex for hours after a woman fled a second-story apartment, then called 911 to report being battered by her boyfriend, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
When Officer Kevin Valencia tried to arrest Lindsey at the complex, he allegedly shot the cop in the eye, leaving him in critical condition.
Lindsey was in “direct and indirect” contact with police during the day, but stopped communicating with officers around 8:30 p.m. At one point, police tried to give him one of their phones—and found what appeared to be a dead child in the home. They went inside, discovering all four children’s bodies.
The names and ages of Lindsey’s alleged victims were released on Tuesday: Dove, 1; Aidan, 6; Lilia, 10; and Iraya, 12. Lindsey was the father of two of the slain children, while the others belonged to his girlfriend.
“Her boyfriend was the father of two of the children and selfishly took the lives of these precious innocent angels and then took his own life,” Benenati wrote.
Less than a month before the startling spate of violence, Lindsey was arrested twice: once for a probation violation, then again for larceny-grand theft, according to Seminole County court records. Lindsey allegedly stole over $300 worth of merchandise from a Walmart, according to an arrest affidavit, but the charges were dropped.
In April 2012, Lindsey was arrested for aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon in Orange County. The mother of his children called the cops on Lindsey after he allegedly put a knife to her face and threatened to kill her—as she cradled then-7-month-old Aidan in her arms, according to court documents.
Lindsey “approached” the woman, “put his left arm around her neck, put the knife up to her face and threatened to kill her,” the arrest affidavit states. He then began to “drag” her “further into the living room by the neck still holding the knife up to her face,” according to the affidavit.
Baby Aidan slipped out of the girlfriend’s hands and onto the floor, court records state, but he was uninjured. His mother suffered a cut on her right thumb from the knife after struggling with Lindsey, the records state.
Lindsey denied the allegation to cops at the time, but the officer at the scene spotted blood on the woman’s shirt, pants, and face, according to the arrest affidavit.
His girlfriend told cops the argument stemmed from a fight over whether or not to take Aidan to the doctor, according to the affidavit. The woman later requested for the charges to be dropped, according to court records. No formal charges were filed against Lindsey after 30 days, so he was released from jail.
Years earlier, in December 2008, Volusia County officials charged Lindsey with “arson of a dwelling, willful fleeing or eluding law enforcement and domestic battery,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. One of Lindsey’s girlfriend’s told Orange County police that he stabbed and punched a television.
“You need to get the dogs and leave,” Lindsey told his partner, the newspaper reported. The woman grabbed the dogs, fled the scene, and called the cops. When authorities arrived, the house was engulfed in flames, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Lindsey pleaded no contest to the charges and was sentenced to house arrest and 28 years of probation, the newspaper reported. The plea included a suspended 10-year prison sentence—but he never served time behind bars.
His ex-girlfriend said she “genuinely loved him” in a deposition but added, “I just knew that it wasn’t going to work out so I broke up with him because I didn’t want to waste my life.”
Lindsey was still on probation when he allegedly killed four children, shocking a community that is still reeling from the Pulse nightclub shooting that left 49 people dead two years ago.
Sandi and Carry Marti planned to visit a memorial for the massacre, but they decided to place a balloon and a note that read “Love always wins,” outside of Westbrook Apartments instead, according to an Orlando Sentinel report.
“As a mom, my heart is completely broken,” Jackie Robinson, a neighbor, told the newspaper. “It hurts too much.”
—Additional reporting by Lisa Schwartz