LAKE WALES, Fla. — Authorities said on Wednesday that a man who was suspected of murdering a 40-year-old lady and her three children was shot and killed by police after a standoff that lasted for several hours at a hotel in central Florida.
After police were called to an apartment complex in Lake Wales on Tuesday night, where the bodies of the woman and children ages 21, 17, and 11 were found, Al Joseph Stenson, 38, was quickly developed as a suspect.
After investigators tracked Stenson to the motel, he allegedly made statements that “he would kill himself or force law enforcement to kill him,” according to a news release issued by the Lakes Wales police.
The investigators did not motivate the killing of the family, nor did they characterize the nature of Stenson’s contact with the victims, other than to indicate that the two parties were acquainted with one another.
According to the police, Stenson passed away at the Slumberland Motel in Sanford, which is located north of Orlando, following a standoff that included crisis negotiators and a SWAT squad. Lake Wales may be reached by car in about two hours from Sanford.
The victims, whose identities have not been made public, are believed to have been shot about 5 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the police. After someone discovered their bodies in the apartment just before 9 p.m., the police were called to the scene.
According to statements made by Chief Chris Velasquez of the police department, Stenson was sought for four charges of first-degree murder.
Velasquez said that “our hearts are broken” for the deceased family member’s loved ones.
After a massive search that lasted for four days, law enforcement in Texas was able to apprehend the individual they believe was responsible for the gunshot deaths of five neighbors earlier this week.
On Tuesday, Francisco Oropeza, 38 years old, was brought into jail. One of the deceased was a little child who was just 9 years old.