Four terrified children, all under 5, found in Florida home where three were shot dead on Christmas Eve

The Lakeland Police Department identified the shooter as Leighton Josephs, 30, who shot himself after shooting a woman, 30, and a man, 27, in their Atlanta Avenue home with a handgun


                            Four terrified children, all under 5, found in Florida home where three were shot dead on Christmas Eve
(Getty Images)

LAKELAND, FLORIDA: Police have identified the shooter involved in the Christmas eve murder-suicide in Lakeland, Florida, that left three people dead. Four children under the age of 5 were also present at the time of the killings but did not suffer any injuries, New York Post reported.

The Lakeland Police Department has identified the shooter as Leighton Josephs, 30, who shot himself after shooting a woman, 30, and a man, 27, in their Atlanta Avenue home with a handgun, The Ledger reported.

Lakeland police spokeswoman Robin Tillett told the Orlando Sentinel that the investigators believe that the man and the woman knew Josephs. Around 5.30 pm on Tuesday, officers responded to a 911 call that said that the caller had heard gunshots.

Mary LaRoy, a neighbor to the man and the woman, spoke of the horrific incident and said, “How can that not stay with you? Any time those children think about Christmas, they’re going to think about tonight."

Lakeland Police Department Captain Ed Cain said, "It’s a very tragic situation on Christmas Eve that’s going to impact a lot of families. It’s safe to say the holidays oftentimes put stressors on families and individuals and how they respond to those situations is, obviously, difficult and taking into account the lives it impacts is tremendous."

It is an active investigation, he said and added that the names of the victims and the children have not been released. According to a report in WFLA, the relatives of the victims say that the man is Christopher Pine and the woman is Rachel Ramsey. The Polk County Medical Examiners confirmed to the outlet that Josephs, Ramsey and Pine will be autopsied on December 26.

Cain said the children have been rescued and are in "safe hands". 

Anyone with additional information related to the case contact Detective Laura Dunn at 863-834-6974.

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