‘My heart breaks’: A father and his two children lose hope
- by admin
In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, two families are left wondering what they can do to help each other and the community.
In the early hours of the morning on Sunday, April 13, 2016, the bodies of their loved ones lay in the parking lot of a local elementary school.
Two of the children had been shot.
A man in his early 60s died.
The two other children, aged 7 and 12, were pronounced dead at the scene.
It took nearly four hours for the police to arrive.
At the time, there were no active shooters at the school.
But that changed in the hours and days that followed.
As the Orlando police investigated, the families began receiving calls from distraught friends and strangers.
One woman sent a text message to her husband, telling him that she was at the elementary school and the gunman had shot her and her two children.
“I just want to say how sad this is,” she wrote.
Another woman texted her husband that she thought the gunman might be on the school grounds.
By the end of the day, the police had interviewed more than 20 people.
The youngest victim, aged five, was shot in the leg and died.
Two others were treated at a hospital and released.
Meanwhile, the parents of the slain children sat silently in their home in Florida, unable to sleep, and the parents and children were forced to keep in contact with the outside world.
They also had to contend with the fact that their loved one, their youngest child, was now dead.
More stories from the newsroom: “We can’t take our minds off this, we can’t think about it,” one woman told the Associated Press, as her daughter struggled to breathe and her parents struggled to keep them awake.
After the shootings, the family began a campaign to raise money for the families of the victims, and they began offering a variety of donations in the form of clothing, toys, books and even a doll.
Their efforts paid off: They were able to purchase an air mattress and an iPad.
When the Orlando Police Department began their investigation into the shootings in May, they did not take any new leads.
The investigation was completed in early June.
Investigators have not yet determined whether the gunman used a handgun, or whether the attack was planned, or if the shooter used a different weapon.
But there is a pattern of violence in the city of Orlando, Fla., where a spate of recent attacks have occurred.
Three weeks ago, a young man opened fire at a convenience store, killing four people and wounding another 16.
A month earlier, another gunman opened fire inside a crowded nightclub, killing 49 people and injuring more than 500 others.
On May 19, a gunman killed 49 people at a party celebrating the Pride festival in Orlando.
And just this week, a man with a long criminal record and a history of domestic violence killed two women inside a home in the St. Cloud area.
This story has been updated to reflect that the mother and father of the young children who died at the Orlando school are not related.
In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, two families are left wondering what they can do to help each other…