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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Gunman kills 3, including news reporter, in shooting spree, sheriff says

The gunman also killed a 20-year-old woman and left two others in critical condition during the shooting spree in Orange County, Fla.

By Eduardo Medina and April Rubin

A man who fatally shot a 20-year-old woman Wednesday morning in Orange County, Florida, returned to the scene later in the day and went on a shooting spree, authorities said, killing a TV news reporter who had been covering the original homicide and a 9-year-old at a nearby home.

The gunman, Keith Melvin Moses, 19, also shot two other people in Pine Hills, Florida, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a news conference Wednesday: the mother of the 9-year-old and a photographer who worked with the TV news reporter at Spectrum News 13 in Orlando. They were both in critical condition Wednesday night.

Moses was in custody by Wednesday evening and charged with wone count of murder in connection with the killing of the 20-year-old; additional charges are expected for the other shootings in Pine Hills, about 5 miles east of Orlando, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.

He said that it was unclear why the five victims were targeted. The 20-year-old woman was an acquaintance of the gunman, Mina said, but officials were still investigating a motive in that killing. He added that there was no apparent connection between Moses and the four other people who were shot.

It is also unclear whether the gunman knew that the reporter and photographer in the vehicle were journalists, Mina said, adding that their vehicle “doesn’t really look like a news vehicle to me.”

“No one in our community — not a mother, not a 9-year-old and certainly not news professionals — should become the victim of gun violence in our community,” he said.

The parent company of Spectrum News 13, Charter Communications, said in a statement Wednesday night that “we are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and the other lives senselessly taken today,” the TV station reported.

At about 11 a.m. WednesdayMoses fatally shot the 20-year-old “in a vehicle,” Mina said.

Then, he noted, Moses returned to the site around 4 p.m.

At that time, the reporter and photographer for News 13 were in a vehicle near the site of the first killing. Moses shot both of them, Mina said.

Moses then walked into a brown house nearby and shot the 9-year-old girl and her mother, he said.

When deputies found Moses, the sheriff said, “he was armed with a handgun, which we believe will link him to these cases as well.”

Moses’ criminal history includes charges of aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft and gun violations, Mina said.

The names of the victims were not immediately released.

In Washington, the White House reacted Wednesday night to the news that journalists were among the victims in the latest spate of gun violence.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the crew member injured in Orange County, Florida, as well as the whole Spectrum News team,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter.

The National Press Club said in a statement that it was “horrified” to learn about the shooting.

“This is another tragic reminder that journalism is a dangerous business and that criminals and those that are the subject of reporting can become violent toward reporters who are doing their jobs,” the organization said. “We urge all reporters in the field to take extra precaution and redouble efforts to work safely.”

The shooting stunned some local reporters who were also on the scene, as well as some of their colleagues, who expressed disbelief on Twitter that journalists had been attacked while doing their jobs.

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