Man Kills Wife, Stepkids in Apparent Murder-Suicide
A police officer was investigating a suspicious car when he heard shots.
Six killed in apparent murder suicide. (CNN)
A police officer was investigating a suspicious car when he heard shots and saw a man walk out of a home shortly after 2 a.m. ET, according to a statement from the Riviera Beach Police Department.
The man shot and killed himself when he spotted the officer, the statement said. Authorities identified him as Patrick Dell, 41.
Inside the house, police found the bodies of the man's 36-year-old estranged wife, Natasha Whyte Dell, and four of his stepchildren, ranging in age from 10 to 14, the statement said. A fifth stepchild was hospitalized with a gunshot wound.
Two biological children of Dell and his wife, believed to be 1 and 3, apparently were not hurt. The police statement says that they are being cared for by relatives.
Investigators identified the children who were killed as Daniel Barnett, 10; Javon Nelson, 11; Diane Barnett, 13 and Bryan Barnett, 14. Grief counselors plan to go to the children's schools Monday, the police said.
"This is a sad day for Riviera Beach," Police Chief Clarence Williams said in the statement. "Many families have been tragically impacted by this unfortunate incident.
"Had it not been for excellent police work, this suspect could have escaped the scene and possibly injured or killed other innocent victims."
Investigators believe "Dell acted alone," the police statement said.