MIAMI: A man killed his daughter and six grandchildren, the youngest just three months old, in a mass shooting at a house in the US state of Florida.
The shooter, identified as Don Charles Spirit, 51, then killed himself after the incident in the small town of Bell, said Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz.
The oldest child was age 10.
“I haven’t seen anything like this at all,” Schultz, who was visibly shaken, told reporters.
“This county, this community is going to be devastated from this. It is a small county, we are all family here.
“We’re asking for prayers for this community and the families involved.”
Spirit had contacted emergency services saying that he was considering harming himself and others, but when police arrived at the home his daughter and young grandchildren were all dead, police said.
Spirit reportedly killed himself while police were there.
The grisly episode is sure to revive more passionate debate about gun ownership in the United States, where 11,000 people were murdered by gun violence in 2011, according to FBI figures.
US school shootings in particular briefly generating public debate on gun control or restrictions on bringing weapons onto educational campuses.
Last month, a nine-year-old girl learning to fire an Uzi submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor when she lost control of the powerful weapon.
Firearms control activists face fierce opposition from America’s powerful pro-gun lobby, which staunchly opposes any effort to limit any restriction of the second amendment of the US Constitution, which protects citizens’ rights to own guns.
The Second Amendment, approved in 1791, reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”