HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—With one of his victims bleeding in the street and another struggling to drag herself out the front door, a suicidal gunman traded fire with police from the lobby of a Hollywood apartment building early Friday until a final shot put an end to a deadly rampage.
For an hour and a half Stuart Williams, 34, held Hollywood police at bay as tenants huddled in their apartments and nearby residents and business owners watched a raging battle.
Found dead in the lobby was Ben Neivert, 81, who had lived in the apartment building for 24 years, and Dawn Garcia, 20, who had only moved in four months ago.
Two other residents, Amanda Scheiber, 21, the new building manager, and Jelena Marjanovic, 25, who stumbled into the street with a head wound, were in critical but stable condition at Memorial Regional Hospital, police said.
Scheiber, Neivert and Garcia were all pulled from the building in a harrowing rescue attempt by the first officers and detectives on the scene who rushed as a team into the path of Williams bullets to pull the victims out.
Although police said Williams was under psychiatric care, we dont know what set him off, said Hollywood Police Detective Carlos Negron. Thats what were trying to find out.
When officers arrived to answer a 10:30 a.m. call of shots fired at the Town House Apartments at 1776 Polk St. just north of Young Circle, they found Marjanovic already outside. She was bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head.
Officers rushed her to safety, but Scheiber, who is 12 weeks pregnant, was pinned down inside.
Police officers saw the pregnant female trying to crawl out of the building but she couldnt open the door. It was too heavy, said Negron.
It was when officers tried to rescue Scheiber that Williams opened fire on them, Negron said.
Inside, the killing had already begun.
On his way to buy groceries for breakfast, building tenant Rocky McDonald, 37, stepped off the elevator into a hail of bullets. Dropping to the ground, he saw a woman, who police believe was Garcia, lying on the floor with blood spots on her chest. During a pause in the shooting, McDonald started to stand up to check on the woman.
Thats when the gunman appeared, pointed a revolver at McDonald, and told him to back away.
I wasnt about to argue, said McDonald who went back to his apartment and called police. He was not injured. McDonald said he has lived in the building about seven months.
Stunned isnt the word for it, said McDonald. I walked out of the elevator and could see a body with blood on her chest.
He could have killed me. Anybody that walked out of that elevator was going to get shot.
Outside, the first officers had called for a SWAT team to back them up but quickly decided they couldnt wait to help Scheiber. Forming a wedge, the group of four to six men rushed into the lobby as Williams continued to fire at them, surrounded Scheiber and dragged her to safety, Negron said.
With Scheiber in the clear, the officers then determined they needed to go back in for the victims they had seen on the floor inside.