Officials from the Sheriff’s Office in Gilchrist County in the small town of Bell Florida announced that a grandfather has apparently killed his daughter, her six children, and himself in what is described as a horrific tragedy.
Being deemed a murder-suicide, the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the grandfather, 51-year-old Don Charles Sprint, who during the call with dispatchers made a reference to harming not only himself but other people in the home. By the time officers arrived on scene, Sprint was still alive but within a short time, turned the gun used in the killings on himself.
After emergency personnel arrived to assist, a search of the home was conducted. It was at that time that law enforcement authorities from seven additional people dead in the home from appeared to be gunshot wound. Included in the murder was 28-year-old Sarah Sprint and her six children, Kaleb age 11, Kylie age 9, Jonathan age 8, Destiny age 5, Brandon age 4, and Alanna, age 3 months.
This incident occurred in a very small community of just 350 people and according to the Gilchrist County Sheriff, Robert Schultz this will be devastating for people to handle. He adds that everyone is more like family and that unfortunately there are just some things in life that cannot be understood or explained. Because there were so many children involved, classmates will be offered grief counseling.
Apparently, this is not the first time law enforcement has been called to the Sprint home. Sprint, a New Jersey native, was arrested and served three years in the Florida Department of Corrections in 2001 relating to a hunting accident that resulted in his eight-year-old son’s death.
Sprint was said to have been pointing out rust of the rifle muzzle when it accidentally fired, striking his son Kyle in the head. Kyle was placed on Sprint’s truck flatbed and driven to a campsite where he called for help. When the shooting occurred, Sprint was a felon from a prior drug conviction. In exchange for a minimum sentence, he ultimately pled guilty to the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. If the plea had not been made, Sprint could have faced anywhere from 3 to 15 years in prison.
At that same time of Sprint’s son being shot and killed, the daughter who lost her life in today’s murder-suicide was on community service for grand theft. Schultz confirmed that Sprint had other run-ins with the law and quite a criminal history.
The exact type of firearm used or the number of times the daughter and children were shot has not been disclosed. Although this appears to be an obvious murder-suicide, detectives will still need to conduct a thorough investigation. Until complete, very few details are expected to come out.
As a final note, Sheriff Schultz said he strongly believed that the community of Bell will come together to work through this and that everyone will continue to be family. A press release is said to be coming sometime later today.