BELL, Fla. – The Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday released the 911 call in a mass family shooting that left six children and two adults dead in the small north-central town of Bell.
"I just shot my daughter and shot all my grandkids, and I'll be sitting on my step and when you get here, I'm going to shoot myself ," Don Spirit told the 911 operator. "Every one of them are dead."
The Sheriff's Office said once deputies arrived and spoke to Spirit, he shot and killed himself. A preliminary autopsy showed all the victims were killed with a .45-caliber handgun, which was recovered at the scene.
"As of this time, no clear or definitive motive can be determined," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
Spirit was a convicted felon, and federal, state and local law enforcement authorities are investigating how he obtained the firearm.
In a private ceremony Monday, the family gathered at Wayfair Cemetery just north of Bell to bury 28-year-old Sarah Lorraine Spirit and her six children; Kaleb Kuhlmann, 11; Kylie Kuhlmann, 9; Johnathon Kuhlmann, 8; Destiny Stewart, 5; Brandon Stewart, 4; and 2½-month-old Alanna Stewart.
"This tragic and devastating event may never be fully explained. We would continue to ask everyone to keep the victims family, friends, classmates and the community of Bell, Florida, in their thoughts and prayers," the Sheriff's Office statement said.
State child welfare officials said Monday they had been investigating Spirit since Sept. 1, when someone called the Florida Department of Children and Families, complaining that adults were using drugs in front of the children.
DCF officials said Sarah Spirit told investigators she had tested positive for drugs and was arrested for violating probation. When she was released, Spirit and the children went to live with her father.
Reports from DCF also documented an incident in 2013 when Don Spirit allegedly hit one of his grandchildren with a belt, causing bruising.
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