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3 people killed in shootings near Orlando

An Orlando television reporter was among the dead in a shooting spree in Florida that killed three, while covering one of the shootings, police said. Orange County Sheriff John Mina told a news conference that the employees worked for Spectrum News 13. The sheriff’s office said earlier on Twitter that one person was in custody. The Associated Press has the story:

3 people killed in shootings near Orlando

Newslooks- ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)

At age 9, T’yonna Major excelled at her school work and in gymnastics, shown flexing her arms after competitions with newly won medals around her neck in photos her proud dad posted on social media.

“She was a light to everyone that knew her,” the girl’s father, Tokiyo Major, posted on the fundraising site GoFundMe, where he has asked for donations to help pay for his daughter’s funeral. “She was everything to us.”

T’yonna was killed Wednesday when a gunman barged into her home outside Orlando and shot the third-grader and her mother, who survived the attack. The Orange County sheriff said the same assailant killed two other people in the Pine Hills area — a TV journalist shot in a vehicle outside and a 38-year-old woman slain hours earlier in the same neighborhood.

Sheriff John Mina said the victims appear to have been killed at random.

The pop-up memorial for slain Spectrum News 13 journalist Dylan Lyons is shown at the University of Central Florida Nicholson School of Communications in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. Lyons, a graduate of UCF, was shot and killed while covering a homicide in Orlando on Wednesday. (Joe Burbank /Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Grieving families and friends of the victims are still trying to come to terms with the bloody rampage. A least two vigils in their memory were planned Friday evening.

Julie Schroeder, who has has worked with T’yonna’s father for nearly a decade, described the girl’s family as loving and close. She described T’yonna as precocious, with grades at the top of her class and reading two grade levels above her age group, as well as affectionate and polite.

“She loved deeply when you’re around her,” Schroeder told WESH-TV. “She always hugged you and she always referred to you as Mr. and Mrs. because respect was very big in their family.”

A note left by someone at the Spectrum News 13 TV station is seen at a makeshift memorial in front of the emergency room at Orlando Regional Medical Center Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. A TV journalist and a child were shot and killed yesterday and several others were injured at a scene where a woman was found murdered earlier in the day. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Her father wrote that T’yonna was also an “amazing gymnast,” often referred to by her coaches as “the next Gabby Douglas.”

Authorities arrested 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses at the scene and charged him with murder. The public defender’s office for Orange and Osceola counties, which is representing Moses, has declined to comment.

The first victim, 38-year-old Natacha Augustin, was killed late Wednesday morning. A man who identified himself as Moses’ cousin told investigators that he was driving around with Augustin when he spotted Moses and offered him a ride, according to an arrest affidavit.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina addresses the media during a press conference about multiple shootings, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. A central Florida television journalist and a little girl were fatally shot Wednesday afternoon near the scene of a fatal shooting from earlier in the day, authorities said. Mina said that they’ve detained Keith Melvin Moses, 19, who they believe is responsible for both shootings in the Orlando-area neighborhood. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

The witness, whose name was redacted from the affidavit, said Moses climbed into the backseat behind Augustin, who was fatally shot about 30 seconds later before Moses fled on foot.

Hours later, news crews at the scene of the shooting included Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons and photographer Jesse Walden. They found themselves caught in a another round of gunshots, which the sheriff said were also fired by Moses when he returned five hours after the first shooting.

Lyons, 24, was killed by gunfire while sitting inside an unmarked news vehicle. Walden was wounded and taken to a hospital.

“You’re losing a friend,” Walden said of Lyons from his hospital bed. “You’re not losing an acquaintance or just coworker — it’s someone that made working fun.”

This image released by the Orange County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office shows Keith Melvin Moses. Authorities say a central Florida television journalist and a little girl were fatally shot Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, near the scene of a fatal shooting from earlier in the day near Orlando, Fla. Authorities have detained Moses, 19, who they believe is responsible for both shootings in the Orlando-area neighborhood. (Orange County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Walden said he and Lyons both started working a the TV around the same time last year and regularly covered stories together on the night shift. He told Spectrum News 13 that Lyons was a “very, very wholesome person” with a great sense of humor.

“He had a very strong sense of justice,” Walden said. “He would really want everyone to follow the rules when it came to people of power.”

Authorities said the gunman then walked into T’yonna’s home nearby, shooting the girl and her mother. Mina said that when deputies wrestled Moses to the ground outside and arrested him, the suspect had a semiautomatic handgun that was still hot from being fired.

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