• U.S.
  • Crime

Five Shot in Orlando, Including Two Journalists and a Nine-Year-Old Girl. Here’s What to Know

5 minute read
Updated: | Originally published:

At least one journalist for local news channel Spectrum News 13 has died in central Florida after being shot on Wednesday afternoon while reporting on the scene of an earlier homicide, authorities said. The shooter also injured a second News 13 crew member and allegedly separately killed a nine-year-old girl and injured her mother.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said in a Wednesday evening briefing that the suspect, identified as 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses, who police believe is responsible for the multiple shootings, has been detained. Mina added that Moses had “a lengthy criminal history,” including weapon and drug charges as well as alleged assault and battery, and he appeared to be “an acquaintance of” the victim of the earlier crime.

On Thursday morning, the Sheriff’s Office revealed the names of those killed: 24-year-old News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons, nine-year-old T’Yonna Major, and 38-year-old Nathacha Augustin.

Among the two surviving victims was News 13 photographer Jesse Walden, who was critically injured but has since been able to communicate with colleagues, the network reported. Police have not named the mother of the girl who was slain, but NBC News identified her as Brandi Major. She was shot in the arm and released from hospital late Wednesday, a relative told NBC News.

Sheriff Mina explained that deputies had responded to a shooting that happened on Hialeah Street in Pine Hills at around 11 a.m., Wednesday morning, where they found Augustin had been killed. That scene was still under investigation, according to the sheriff, when, at 4:05 p.m., police received calls of two more shootings, one in the same area and another in a nearby location.

Authorities then found Lyons and Walden, who were there to cover the scene of the morning murder, shot “in or near” their vehicle. At Harrington Drive, a nearby road in junction with Hialeah Street, the Majors were found inside their home also having been shot.

Moses’ motive for the later shootings remains under investigation. “It is unclear if he knew they were news media or not. We’re still trying to work all that out,” the sheriff said. Mina also said they’re not yet sure why the mother and daughter were targeted.

T’Yonna Major’s family described her as “extremely smart” and an “amazing gymnast,” according to NBC News. “Senseless violence has taken the life of my little girl,” T’Yonna’s father, Tokiyo, wrote in a GoFundMe post for the family.

In a statement, Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum News 13, said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and the other lives senselessly taken today. Our thoughts are with our employee’s family, friends and co-workers during this very difficult time. We remain hopeful that our other colleague who was injured makes a full recovery. This is a terrible tragedy for the Orlando community.”

The Spectrum newsroom continued to report on the incident through the night. “I mean we’ve all covered stories, been out in the community, doing what our colleagues were doing,” reporter Curtis McCloud said later on-air, “responding and doing a story, putting out information into the community, like we do: gather facts and report it to individuals or people in the community.”

“It was some of our competitors who rushed to the aid of our colleagues,” said anchor Tammie Fields. “When danger was happening, they could have run the other way, but apparently they ran right over to our crews and helped.”

“This is every reporter’s worst nightmare,” said WESH journalist Luana Munoz, who knew Lyons and said she had just embraced his fiancé, through tears. “We are standing in solidarity tonight as one of our own has just passed.”

Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott said he and his team are closely monitoring the situation. “This is absolutely horrible,” Scott tweeted Wednesday night.

News of the shooting reached Washington, where White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed her condolences on Twitter: “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. Our hearts are also with the other shooting victims today, their families, and the entire community. Too many lives are being ripped apart by gun violence.”

Data from the Committee to Protect Journalists show that at least 13 journalists have been killed in the U.S. between 1992 and 2022.

The Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting to include at least four victims not including the shooter, has already recorded more than 80 such incidents in the U.S. since the start of 2023.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com