A gunman shot dead four children he was holding hostage before turning the gun on himself, police have said.
Gary Lindsey Jr was caught up in a 20-hour standoff with officers in Orlando, Florida, after he barricaded himself in an apartment with the children, aged one, six, 10 and 11.
The 35-year-old had shot and injured an officer who was responding to a domestic violence call late on Sunday night before taking the children hostage.
Lindsey spoke with police on the phone throughout the course of the hostage situation but officers noticed one child was dead after attempting to hand him another phone.
Officers stormed the apartment at 9pm on Monday night but found that all the children had been killed, while Lindsey had shot himself and was found dead inside a closet.
Two of the children are believed to be Lindsey’s while two are his girlfriend’s.
Judy Pepper, who lives in the apartment complex, told the Orlando Sentinel that she had fallen asleep on the couch when she heard four loud gunshots.
She said: ‘It just went, `Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.’
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said after the incident: ‘We have no idea when those poor children lost their lives, that will all be part of the investigation.’
Mina said the officer shot by Lindsey was Kevin Valencia, who remains critical condition after surgery.
He added that Lindsey had previously been arrested for arson and domestic violence battery.