It is well known that domestic violence is a serious problem in central Florida. Area police frequently cite domestic violence calls as among the most dangerous situations they must respond to. Sadly, recent events have only brought this danger to home for residents of Orlando.
On the evening of June 10, police officers responded to a domestic violence call in southwest Orlando. Specifically, a woman reported she was being battered and fled her apartment to a nearby restaurant. Orlando Police Department officers then went to the woman’s apartment to confront the suspected abuser, 35-year-old Gary Wayne Lindsey, Jr.
But when police arrived, a shootout ensued, seriously wounding OPD Officer Kevin Valencia. The officer subsequently required emergency surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center, followed by extensive treatment at a spinal cord and brain-injury rehabilitation facility in Atlanta. As of a June 28 report, Officer Valencia was “responsive” but “remains in a coma.”
Unfortunately, Officer Valencia’s injuries were not the most serious. After a 24-hour standoff, an OPD SWAT team entered the apartment, where they found the suspect, Lindsey, and four children dead. According to OPD Chief John Mina, Lindsey shot and killed the children–who ranged in age from 1 to 11– before turning his gun on himself. Two of the children were reportedly Lindsey’s, while the other two belonged to the woman who made the initial domestic violence report.
Suspect Owned Multiple Firearms Despite Felony Conviction, Probation Requirements
In the aftermath of this incident, news reports focused on Lindsey’s prior criminal record. The Orlando Sentinel reported that at the time of his death, Lindsey was serving a 35-year probation term arising from a 2010 arson arrest. More precisely, the Sentinel said Lindsey “was accused of trying to burn down a house in Orange City during a domestic argument.”
During the course of his probation, Lindsey was “reported for four violations,” including a 2012 domestic violence arrest–involving the same accuser as the June 10 report–where the charges “were later dropped.” And following a May 4, 2018, arrest for grand theft, a judge “reluctantly agreed to release Lindsey back to supervision after his sister agreed to pay $1,000 in restitution on his behalf.”
Although the terms of Lindsey’s probation prevented him from owning firearms, he had two rifles, two shotguns, and a handgun in his possession, according to Chief Mina, who said the weapons were gifts from Lindsey’s father.
Defending Yourself Against Domestic Violence Charges
It is important to note that cases like this are an outlier. Most domestic violence cases in Florida do not end in deadly shootings. More commonly, domestic violence charges are the result of verbal fights or minor altercations where nobody is seriously injured.
Nevertheless, you should take any domestic violence accusation seriously. An experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney can assist you in preparing a defense to any domestic violence charge. Contact the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, at (407) 531-8694, to schedule a consultation with a member of our team today.