The Orlando man who police say killed four child hostages and critically injured a police officer had a long history of domestic violence and possessed five firearms in violation of federal law, according to authorities and court documents.
The day after Gary Lindsey Jr. killed the children — including two of his own kids — during a 21-hour standoff, Orlando Police on Tuesday revealed new details about how the horrific incident transpired.
A review of court documents also show that Lindsey had on multiple occasions been accused of battering women, including the mother of four of the children he killed during the standoff. That woman once even accused Lindsey of holding a knife to her neck as she held one of the four children in her arms.
Police chief John Mina said officers arrived at the Orlando apartment complex soon after the woman, who they described as Lindsey’s girlfriend, called authorities late Sunday to report that she had fled the apartment, where she left behind her children, because Lindsey had punched and kicked her.
After meeting with the woman near the apartment complex’s clubhouse, officers approached the apartment and Lindsey shot at them through the door, critically wounding Officer Kevin Valencia, Mina said.
Police fired back, but Mina said that investigators thus far have uncovered no evidence suggesting that Lindsey or any of the children holed up with him were struck by law enforcement’s bullets. Valencia remained in critical condition Tuesday.
The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office is still conducting autopsies on the four children — who a family spokesman has identified as Irayan, 11; Lillia, 10; Aidan, 6; and Dove, 1 — and Lindsey. The Medical Examiner’s office declined to comment.
Mina said police decided to delay forcibly entering the apartment out of concern that the children could be inadvertently injured as they confronted Lindsey.
Throughout the standoff, police negotiators and family friends had several conversations with Lindsey urging him to surrender. Lindsey was using a cell phone that only worked with a Wifi connection and sporadically dropped calls, according to police.
He said Lindsey, who as a convicted felon was prohibited from possessing firearms, inherited the weapons — two rifles, two shotguns, and a handgun — from his deceased father.
“He never made any threats to the children,” Mina said of the conversations during the standoff. “In these types of situations, that’s our biggest concern. We never want to do anything that is going to provoke the suspect into committing harm to the children, to the hostages.”
But around 8 p.m., roughly 20 hours into the standoff, police breached windows of the apartment and caught sight of one of the deceased children.
Shortly after breaching the windows, SWAT officers entered the apartment and found two children dead in one bedroom and two others dead in another. Lindsey was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a closet.
The girlfriend who called in the domestic abuse was the mother of all four children and Lindsey was the father of two of them, according to family friend Walter Benenati, who has created a GoFundMe page to help the woman pay for funeral costs.
“Losing four children is unfathomable,” Benenati told the AP.
But Lindsey, who was a felon on probation, had past violent encounters with women.
In January 2017, court records indicate the mother of the children initiated a domestic violence complaint against Lindsey but the case was dismissed less then three weeks later.
In April 2012, the woman — whose name USA TODAY is withholding because of a policy not to publish the names of domestic violence victims — filed a complaint with police after Lindsey battered her and threatened to kill her after an argument about taking Aiden, then seven months old, to the doctor.
She said he attacked her while she was holding the child, according to court documents reviewed by USA TODAY. When police arrived on the scene, the woman had blood on her shirt, pants, and face.
“With her seven month old son, Aidan M. Lindsey, in her arms (the victim) came into the living room where she observed (Gary) Lindsey standing there with a kitchen knife (black handle with a silver blade),” according to the arrest affidavit. “Lindsey approached (the victim), put his left arm around her neck, put the knife to her face and threatened to kill her. Lindsey began to drag (the victim) further into the living room by the neck still holding the knife up to her face. While he was doing this, (the victim) lost her grip on Aidan and he slipped down the front of her and on to the floor uninjured.”
Lindsey was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but the charges were later dropped after the victim indicated she wouldn’t assist the prosecution.
“It was a misunderstanding, I want to drop the charges,” she wrote in a second affidavit declining prosecution days after the incident.
Lindsey was on felony probation after pleading no contest to charges of arson of a dwelling, willful fleeing or eluding law enforcement and domestic battery for 2008 incident in nearby Volusia County involving another woman, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
In that incident, the woman with whom Lindsey was in a relationship told police that, during an argument, Lindsey had grabbed a kitchen knife and begun stabbing the living room television.
He also punched the TV screen with his fist, and destroyed another television in the home.
When the woman tried to call police for help, Lindsey broke her phone and threatened to burn the house down.
As the woman left, she spotted Lindsey retrieving two gasoline cans. Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the house ablaze.