ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida woman who escaped her apartment after her ex-husband started beating her told a 911 dispatcher she didn’t want to leave her four children alone with him too long “because he might do something.”
When Orlando police showed up just before midnight on June 10, Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr. shot Officer Kevin Valencia in the head and began a standoff with law enforcement that lasted 21 hours. During that time, Lindsey killed the children, who ranged in age from 1 to 11, before fatally shooting himself, police said.
In 911 recordings released by the city of Orlando on Thursday, a frantic Ciara Lopez told the dispatcher she ran to a nearby convenience store and asked the clerk to call 911.
“He has a gun,” Lopez said. “I don’t know if it’s on him right now, but I know it’s in the house.” When the dispatcher asked if he had pulled the gun on her, Lopez responded, “Not today.”
Lopez declined medical attention, saying she’d only been scraped up. But she was worried about her children.
“I don’t want to leave them alone there for too long because he might do something,” Lopez told the dispatcher.
Another 911 call came in after police arrived at the apartment complex. A neighbor reported seeing the officer critically wounded outside of her window. “The cop is hurt,” the caller said. “There’s several officers around the officer. He’s on the floor and they’re trying to call for God-knows-what.”
In another call, a woman identified herself as Lindsey’s sister. She said he had texted a friend that he was going to kill himself. “He said he was barricaded in an apartment and had shot through the door at a cop,” she told the dispatcher.
Valencia remains hospitalized in Orlando.
Records from the state Department of Children and Families show that Lindsey had a history of fighting with Lopez, but she never claimed he was a threat to the children, the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday.
Irayan Pluth, 12, and lillia Pluth, 10, told the agency’s investigators that they would go into their rooms and play when their mother and Lindsey fought, according to the newspaper, which said its report was based on a review of about 100 pages of records.
Investigators said the Pluths and siblings Aidan Lindsey, 6, and Dove Lindsey, 22 months, were killed in their beds soon after Lopez fled the apartment that night. Lindsey was the father of the younger two children.
The older children told social workers they had never seen their mother and Lindsey hit each other, but the records show there was increasing violence, the Sentinel reported.
“He threatens me on a daily basis to get out with only some clothes or he will break everything I own, but when I try to leave he stops me and locks the apartment from the inside,” Lopez wrote in 2017 when she sought a restraining order. “Incidents are becoming more and more frequent.” She wrote that Lindsey was punching holes in the wall and had become increasingly physical.
Lopez was arrested once, in 2015. The report said she was accused of biting and scratching Lindsey during a fight over her car keys. The case was closed a month later when Lindsey said he didn’t want to press charges.
The case workers who interviewed the children said they always found them to be safe and happy, the records show.
Department Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement that he had ordered a review of the agency’s history with the family after the slayings in June.
“The actions of this individual are horrifying, and we are mourning with the family of these children,” he said.