Grandfather who gunned down six grandchildren and his daughter previously killed his eight-year-old son
By RYAN GORMAN
It has been revealed that the gunman behind a mass shooting Thursday in Florida previously killed his son in a hunting accident and reportedly suffered mental health problems.
Grandfather Don Spirit, 51, reportedly gunned down his adult daughter and her six children inside his Bell home, Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz said in a Thursday evening press conference. Local media is reporting the other adult victim is 28-year-old Sarah Spirit, but he declined to confirm.
The deceased children are reported by WESH to be: Kaleb Kuhlmann, 11, Kylie Kuhlmann, 9, Johnathon Kuhlmann, 8, Destiny Stewart, 5, Brandon Stewart, 4, and Alanna Stewart, 3 months.
"There's still a lot of unanswered questions. There's going to be questions that we're never going to get answered," said Schultz.
Donald Spirit was previously convicted in a felony drug case and also pleaded guilty to a gun possession charge after accidentally killing his eight-year-old son in a hunting accident, authorities said.
"It all happened so quickly," the crying man told the Tampa Bay Times during his trial, according to the Miami Herald.
The ex-con's rifle fired as he was pointing out rust on the barrel November 14, 2001, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The boy was struck in the head.
Donald Spirit revealed to the paper during the subsequent trial that he suffered from mental health problems and also had concerns his medication was insufficient.
"The medication, I've tried it. It ain't working," Spirit told the Sentinel during a 2003 interview. "The one medicine I have is my family."
Donald Spirit called 911 around 4:00 p.m. and "made reference to harming people and himself," Schultz said. He committed suicide shortly after deputies arrived on the scene.
First responders found a horrific scene when they arrived: Seven dead bodies strewn "all over the property," according to Schultz.
"I haven't handled something like this at all, to say that this county, this community is not going to be devastated by this... There are certain things in life you can explain, and there are some things you can't," Schultz lamented, looking down as if trying to come to grips with the carnage.
"We'll get through this, but I continue to ask everybody to pray for those involved," he added.
The Thursday afternoon incident began as a domestic dispute, but it is not known what triggered the confrontation. Also not clear is what type of gun was used in the mass shooting.
"It started out as a family dispute and escalated," a law enforcement source previously told AOL News.
Donald Spirit has a criminal record, Schultz said, but declined to confirm his previous charges. Deupites had been to the trailer home multiple times in the past, he added.
HIllsborough County Court records revealed more than a half dozen other charges ranging from battery to depriving a child of food/shelter and DUI.
His most recent prison stint was in 2009.
"I may not have lived the best life," he previously told the Times.
Methamphetamine is also reportedly "a problem" in the trailer home where Donald Spirit lives.
State court records list him as an indigent for defaulting in 2009 on a $180 misdemeanor court fee.
Bell is about 40 miles northwest of Gainesville. The town has a population of nearly 400 people.
Also on AOL:
Police: Officers fatally shoot man near St. Louis
Couple in Craigslist slaying sentenced to life in prison