(UPDATE: Despite police efforts for a peaceful surrender, ABC News reports that Gary Lindsey Jr., 35, was found dead along with the four children: two of whom were his, the other two belonging to his girlfriend.
According to Orlando Police Chief John Mina, Lindsey had a poor phone connection. When officers tried to get Lindsey another phone to continue negotiations, they saw that at least one child had been shot and decided to enter the apartment.
"The situation has a tragic and sad ending," Mina said. "We realize it's been a difficult day for the entire community.")
Orlando police are asking for prayers from the community as four children—ages ranging from 1 to 11—are being held hostage in an apartment building after a man opened fire on police.
In a press conference this morning, Orlando Police Chief John Mina stated that officers were responding to a domestic dispute call near Universal Studios around 11:45 p.m. last night. The suspect allegedly began shooting when confronted by officers—at which time, at least one officer returned fire.
“We’ve been through this before,” said Mina. “It’s hard. It’s very traumatic when your officer is shot in the line of duty.”
Immediately following the incident, the suspect barricaded himself in the apartment with four children: ages 1, 7, 10 and 12. Mina says they believe some of the children might be his, but this information has not yet been confirmed.
“SWAT is out there,” said Mina, and “we’re trying to negotiate with the subject so he peacefully surrenders. Our main concern right now is the safety of the children that are in that apartment.”
At this time, because it is still a live investigation, no names are being released. According to Mina, the wounded officer—who was struck by at least one bullet—was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery for "very significant injuries." He is out of surgery and expected to survive. It is still unclear if any of the officer’s bullets hit the gunman.
Judy Pepper, 44, who says she lives at the apartment complex, told the Orlando Sentinel that she was sleeping on her couch when the incident took place.
"It just went, ‘Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop,'" she said. “It just startled me awake, and I had no idea what was going on."
Pepper told reporters she saw the wounded officer being carried into the grass while others worked to save him. Soon after, she and other residents were told to vacate the complex.
Police are working on charges against the suspect and asking people to avoid the area around the Westbrook Apartments near Universal Studios until the situation has been resolved and the children have been safely released.