ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A man who police say shot an officer then barricaded himself in an apartment with four children was being urged Monday to release the hostages and peacefully end a standoff that had lasted more than 12 hours.
Police negotiators have communicated with suspect Gary Lindsey five times since the standoff at an apartment started around midnight Sunday, Chief John Mina said at a news conference.
"We are urging him to release the children and let this come to a peaceful resolution," Mina said. The children with Lindsey range in age from 1 to 11. Some of them are Lindsey's children and some belong to his girlfriend.
"Our main concern is the safety of the children in that apartment," Mina said. Officers were called to the apartment by his girlfriend because of a domestic dispute.
Upon arriving, the officers were fired upon, and Officer Kevin Valencia was shot. An officer was able to return fire, the police chief said. Valencia was expected to survive but had "very significant injuries," Mina said.
Valencia is in his late 20s and has been with the police department since 2016, Mina said. The officer was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.
"All of our officers are shaken up, very emotional," Mina said. Court record shows Lindsey, 35, has an extensive criminal history involving arson, battery and theft. He is currently on probation.
Judy Pepper, who lives in the apartment complex, told the Orlando Sentinel that she had fallen asleep on the couch after watching a Sunday night baseball game on television when she heard four loud gunshots.
"It just went, 'Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop,'" Pepper said. She looked out the window and saw three people carrying a police officer onto the grass. She said other officers arrived, cut open his shirt and appeared to be putting bandages on his neck.
Then, they put him in a patrol car and sped away. "Hell, yes, I was absolutely terrified," she said. Officers evacuated other residents of the complex in the middle of the night. Some were milling around nearby restaurant parking lots Monday morning, still wearing pajamas.
They were later taken to a nearby hotel. The standoff also disrupted the routines of residents who lived in neighboring apartment communities.
About five blocks from the apartment, two police squad cars blocked the entrance to the street. Residents of the neighboring apartment complexes had to show identification and be escorted by the police.
Several firetrucks lined the road. Mina said he understood neighbors were inconvenienced, but said police officers weren't going to act unnecessarily hasty. "To the residents out there, I know it's difficult but just please be patient," he said. "We want this to come to a peaceful resolution."