AAt least one journalist for local news channel Spectrum News 13 has died in central Florida after being shot Wednesday evening while reporting on the scene of an earlier homicide, authorities said. The shooter also wounded a second News 13 staff member and killed a nine-year-old girl and injured her mother. The two victims who survived were taken to hospital in critical condition.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said at an afternoon briefing that the suspect, identified as Keith Melvin Moses, 19 years old, who police believe is responsible for the multiple shootings, has been taken into custody. Mina added that Moses had a “long criminal history,” including weapons and drug charges as well as alleged assault and battery, and that he “knew” the victim of the crime before.
The sheriff explained that deputies responded to a shooting that occurred on Hialeah Street in Pine Hills at approximately 11 am, Wednesday morning, where they found a 20-year-old woman, who had died. That scene was still under investigation, according to Mina, when police received calls of two other shootings at 4:05 p.m., one in the same area and another in a nearby location.
Authorities then learned that a News 13 reporter and photographer, who was there to cover the scene of the morning’s murder, had been shot “in or near” their vehicle. At Harrington Drive, a nearby road at the intersection of Hialeah Street, a woman and her child were also found shot inside their home.
Moses’ motive for the later shooting is still under investigation. “It is not clear whether he knew they were news media or not. We’re still trying to work that out,” the sheriff said. He added that they are still not sure why the mother and daughter were targeted.
The names of the victims have not yet been released.
I statement, Charter Communications, Spectrum News 13’s parent company, said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and the other lives senselessly taken today. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and co-workers of our employee during this difficult time. We remain hopeful that our other injured colleague will make a full recovery. This is a terrible tragedy for the community of Orlando.”
The Spectrum newsroom continued to report on the incident throughout the night. “I mean we’ve all covered stories, being out in the community, doing what our colleagues were doing,” reporter Curtis McCloud said later on the air, “responding and making a story, putting information out in the community, as we do. : gather facts and report them to individuals or people in the community.”
“It was some of our contestants who went to the aid of our colleagues,” said anchor Tammie Fields. “When the danger was happening, they could have run the other way, but apparently they ran over to our teams and helped.”
“This is every reporter’s worst nightmare,” said WESH journalist Luana Munoz, who knew the News 13 journalist who died and said she had just accepted her fiancé, through tears . “We stand in solidarity tonight with the passing of one of our own.”
Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott said he and his staff are closely monitoring the situation. “This is absolutely horrible,” Scott tweeted.
News of the shooting reached Washington, where White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also expressed her condolences. on Twitter: “Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the staff member injured in Orange County, Florida, as well as the entire Spectrum News staff.”
Data from the Committee to Protect Journalists shows that at least 13 journalists were killed in the US between 1992 and 2022.
The Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as having at least four victims excluding the shooter, has already recorded more than 80 such incidents since the beginning of 2023.
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