ORLANDO, Fla. - Four children who were fatally shot during a hostage standoff that lasted nearly 24 hours were killed in their beds as they slept shortly after the suspect shot a police officer through the door, according to the Orlando Police Department.
Officials said Thursday that the children -- Irayan Pluth, 12, Lillia Pluth, 10, Aidan Lindsey, 6,, and Dove Lindsey, 1 -- were in their beds in their pajamas when officers found them at the end of the standoff around 9 p.m. Monday.
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"Based on the condition of the victims’ bodies at the time of discovery, coupled with a thorough review of the investigation so far regarding this case, OPD Homicide Detectives believe the children were killed while they slept, either shortly before or shortly after the suspect's initial contact with OPD Officers, in which Officer Kevin Valencia was shot," Orlando police officials said in a news release.
The standoff began around 11:45 p.m. Sunday when said that her boyfriend, Gary Lindsey Jr., had beaten her inside an apartment at Westbrook Apartments on Eaglesmere Drive.
Police said they surrounded the unit where Lindsey was inside with the victim's four children and that's when Lindsey shot Valencia through the door. Valencia remains in critical condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Authorities contacted Lindsey through his Wi-Fi-only cellphone and through friends and family during the standoff. Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Lindsey never indicated that he was going to harm the children and the children were never heard in the background during the hours of negotiations.
A decision was made to breach the windows of the apartment unit at 8:30 p.m. Monday in an attempt to make better contact with Lindsey and that's when authorities saw that one of the children was dead. SWAT officers entered the home at about 9 p.m. and found all four children fatally shot.
Lindsey -- a convicted felon and the father of two of the children -- was found dead in a closet from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
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