SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Police in Sanford say a woman and her boyfriend were arguing over property before he fatally shot her and also shot five others, including her two grade-school age sons, their grandfather, and two bystanders.
Police say the suspect in the shootings, Allen Cashe, 31, was taken into custody shortly after the incidents, around 6:30 a.m.
Investigators say it started roughly three hours earlier, when Latina Herring approached officers at a Wawa on W. 25th St. She told them that Cashe had the keys to her home and would not give them back. It turned out that she also had the keys to his vehicle, but they both exchanged keys before leaving the gas station.
About 20 minutes later, police received a call about a battery on a woman near West 25th Street and Ridgewood Ave. Officers could not find the victim but had received another call saying the subject in the battery was holding a gun. The officers said they determined that the call was about Cashe and Herring, so they went to Cashe’s home, where the two were located. Officers said they found no weapons in Cashe's house or his car.
As Cashe was preparing to leave the home, Herring came out with a bag of his belongings, officers say. Cashe refused to take the bag, so Herring asked the officers to keep it, at which time they found a Glock 22 handgun with ammunition.
Roughly three hours later, officers heard gunshots while patrolling and saw a white vehicle leave the area of Hartwell Ave. Within minutes, police started receiving calls that a shooting occurred at 209 Hays Drive.
"I heard the 'boom!' I thought it was somebody shaking at my door," said neighbor Tammy Griffin.
When police arrived at the home on Hays Drive, a shooting victim, Bertis Gerard Herring Jr., was outside of the house yelling for help. Officers entered the home and found the 35-year-old Latina Herring dead from apparent gunshot wounds. They also found two of her sons, ages seven and eight, critically injured from apparent gunshot wounds.
Moments later, officers found another victim, 43-year-old Lazaro Paredesquelite, with gunshot wounds at the baseball fields at Cedar Creek.
Officers continued to follow the white vehicle to the Seminole Gardens Apartments. Cashe then tried to flee on foot, but he was caught by the police and taken into custody. They said an AK-47 was also found on him.
Around 6:30 a.m., another victim, 18-year-old Rakeya Jackson, arrived at the Central Florida Regional Hospital with apparent gunshot wounds. The high school student was waiting for a bus at Cedar Creek Circle when officers said Cashe shot as he he was fleeing.
The two children were transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital. Herring Jr., 60, who is also the grandfather of the two children, was transported to Central Florida Regional Hospital. All three remain in critical condition.
"My little cousins, they're still in the hospital right now at Arnold Palmer. They're going through a very hard time right now, so say a prayer basically," requested Celisha Brown. "Hopefully everyone will be able to make it and walk out of the hospital. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Paredesquelite and Jackson were in Central Florida Regional Hospital and are in stable condition.
“There are no words to describe this morning’s scene,” Chief Cecil Smith said. “I am just proud my officers were able to take him off the streets before he could take any more lives.”
As the family struggles with the loss of one of their own, Brown says they are trying to keep up their own strength for the children.
"There was a point in time when we didn't know if they were going to make it or not, the eight-year old was struggling, but he's doing a lot better now. It's kids involved. My relatives involved. So anger, frustration, grief for the family all at the same time."
She says they never expected anything like this, calling Latina a wonderful mother who loved her kids.
"She was a good person, laughing, always happy."
Cashe, who was Herring's ex-boyfriend, had nothing to say after officer arrested him. He has been charged with a count of first degree murder, four counts of attempted first degree premeditated homicide, a count of second degree attempted homicide, a count of felon with a firearm and one count of violation of parole.
UPDATE (03/28): It is reported that the 8-year old son of Latina Herring, who was in critical condition from being shot, is now dead.