Five people plus the apparent shooter are dead in an early morning mass killing at the Fiamma company in east Orange County Monday morning.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said a man he described as an apparent disgruntled former employee killed four men and a woman Monday morning and then killed himself, in a camper and RV accessory business in a light industrial park east of the city of Orlando.
“It’s a sad day for us once again here in Orange County,” Demings said.
Demings and Danny Banks Orlando special agent in charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said there is no evidence to suggest any terrorism links, and there are no indications that the shooter was associated with any subversive or terrorist organization.
“What this is at this point is likely a workplace violence incident,” Demings said.
The man, age 45, whom law enforcement has not identified, entered the building through unknown means with a handgun and a knife, and shot the victims and then himself. All those shot died, including a man who died while being treated at Orange County Regional Medical Center, he said.
“There is no indication he used the knife on anyone this morning, but shot five innocent people this morning and then turned the gun on himself,” Demings said.
Seven other employees were in the building at the time, and none was hurt, he said. Sheriff’s detectives are interviewing them.
Demings said the business has Italian ownership.
Deputies received a call of a shooting at 8:03 a.m. and were on the scene within two minutes.
The man identified as the shooter was fired in April, Demings said.
Deming said there also was an incident reported from the business in June of 2014 in which the man was accused of battering another employee. No charges were filed at that time. The man also has a record of minor arrests including battery, Demings said.
Banks credited the rapid response of Orange County Sheriff’s Office for saving the lives of the others in the building.
“I give great support to the sheriff and his staff. we know we lost several individuals due to violence today,” Banks said. “But seven other individuals lives were saved by the quick actions of the Orange County Sheriff’s deputies that got here within two minutes of this incident occurring.”
The mass shooting is stunning Orlando, which is preparing for a remembrance next Monday of the worst mass shooting in recorded American history, at the Pulse Nightclub, June 12, 2016.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said residents must remain vigilant.
“I wish to express my regrets, my sympathy, my sorrow, for the family members of those that we lost this morning. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this play itself out in our community and in other communities across the nation,” Jacobs said. “And it is incumbent upon all of us not to become complacent or become callous to these horrific situations, but for each of our citizens to be vigilant. If they see something that doesn’t seem normal, they need to say something.”
“One thing we know about Central Florida is we have expert law enforcement men and women, and we have a community that cares and has shown that compassion time and time again,” Jacobs added.
Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement:
“Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before. I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.
The scene is next door to Restaurant Equipment World, a business owned by a very prominent Republican in Orange County, Jerry Pierce. He has hosted visits at that business by numerous officials including Scott, and most recently attorney general candidate Jay Fant, who joined a small-business town hall there as part of his campaign kickoff in May. Pierce also led efforts to create a veterans memorial in Lake Nona near the new Veterans Affairs Hospital.
The scene is just a mile south of Full Sail University, and Demings said a family reunion site is being set up there.