By David Fischer | Associated Press
A Florida television journalist and a little girl were shot dead Wednesday afternoon near the site of a fatal shooting earlier in the day, authorities said.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said at a news conference Wednesday night that they have arrested 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses, who they believe is responsible for both shootings near Orlando.
In addition to the Spectrum News 13 journalist and the 9-year-old girl, a TV crew member and the girl’s mother were injured in the second shooting. They were in critical condition at a local hospital.
“I want to acknowledge what a terrible day this has been for our community and our media partners,” Mina told a roomful of reporters. “I work closely with all of you and know many of you and know the very difficult work you do and also the very important work you do for our community and for law enforcement. No one in our community — not a mother, not a 9-year-old, and certainly not news professionals — should be subjected to gun violence in our community.”
Mina said they don’t immediately have a motive for any of the shootings.
“So the suspect isn’t saying much right now,” Mina said. “It is unclear whether he knew it was news media or not. We are still trying to work that out.”
Mina said the News 13 vehicle did not look like a typical news van with TV station markings.
Deputies had initially responded Wednesday morning in the Pine Hills area, just northwest of Orlando, after reports of a woman in her 20s who had been shot.
Moses “was an acquaintance of the woman this morning, but as far as we know, he had no connection to the reporters and no connection to the mother and the 9-year-old,” Mina said.
According to witnesses, a man approached the news vehicle later Wednesday and opened fire, hitting the two reporters. The man then walked to a nearby house and shot the mother and daughter.
WFTV crews, who also covered the morning shooting, attempted to provide medical assistance to the Spectrum 13 reporters.
Mina said Moses is already facing a murder charge for the first victim, and charges are expected soon for the other four victims. Moses’ criminal history includes charges of firearms, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand larceny, the sheriff said.
“Our thoughts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the injured crew member in Orange County, Florida, as well as the entire Spectrum News team,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter. .
Spectrum News 13 did not identify the crew members involved in the shooting, according to a story on the TV station’s website.
“Please, please pray tonight for our colleague who is in critical condition. And while you’re at it, please pray for every victim of gun violence in this country,” Spectrum 13 journalist Celeste Springer said during her live on-air report.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 40 journalists were killed worldwide last year, plus two more this year before Wednesday. Only one of these was in the United States.
Jeff German, who covered politics and corruption for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was found dead outside his home in September with multiple stab wounds. Former Clark County public clerk Robert Telles has been charged with murder in the murder.
In 2015, Virginia reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed during their live TV broadcast for CBS affiliate WDBJ7. The suspect, a former reporter for the TV station, committed suicide while the police searched for him.