Deputies: Former Tampa man murdered daughter, 6 grandkids in Bell, Fla.

By Ashley Jeffery and Natalie Tolomeo, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Friday, September 19, 2014, 6:59 AM

A former Tampa man shot and killed his daughter and her six children, then himself at a home in Bell on Thursday afternoon, according to the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Robert Schultz confirmed during a press conference that 51-year-old Don Charles Spirit called 911 around 4 p.m. threatening to harm himself and the people with him. Once a deputy arrived on scene, he killed himself.

Schultz said deputies found the following victims dead on the property: Kaleb, 11, Kylie, 9 and 8-year-old Johnathon Kuhlmann, as well as Destiny, 5, Brandon, 4, and 3-month-old Alanna Stewart. The mother has been identified as 28-year-old Sarah Lorraine Spirit.

Police cordoned off the length of the dirt road leading to the home near Bell, a town of just 350 people about 30 miles west of Gainesville.

Schultz wouldn't say if a weapon was recovered or what sort was used. He didn't have a motive for the massacre but said deputies had been to the home in the past for various reasons.

"There's still a lot of unanswered questions," Schultz said "There's going to be questions that we're never going to get answered. Keep this community in your prayers...(Friday's) going to be a hard day in Gilchrest County."

Schultz wouldn't divulge where exactly the victims were found, though he said, "They were certainly all over on the property."

Spirit has a long list of arrests ranging from a felony possession of marijuana to eventually serving a minimum prison sentence in 2003 for a felony firearms violation.

Schultz said Spirit was the only suspect and that some people were left alive at the home. Schultz also said Spirit had a criminal history. According to the Florida Department of Corrections website, Spirit's arrests ranged from a felony possession of marijuana to eventually serving a minimum prison sentence in 2003 for a felony firearms violation.

Spirit was released from prison in February 2006 for a gun charge.

Spirit's three years in prison came after pleading guilty to accidentally shooting his son Kyle, 8, on Nov. 14, 2001, during a hunting trip to Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area near Kenansville.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said on Thursday they will take over the investigation.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.