Central Florida A television reporter and a young girl were fatally shot Wednesday afternoon near the scene of a fatal shooting earlier in the day, authorities said.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said during a news conference Wednesday night that police have arrested 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses, who they believe is responsible for both shootings in the Orlando area.
In addition to the Spectrum News 13 reporter and the nine-year-old girl, a 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 that this has been a terrible day for our community and our media partners,” Mina told a room full of reporters. “I work closely with all of you, I know many of you, and I know the very difficult work you do and the very important work you do for our community and for law enforcement. No one in our community — not a mother, not a nine-year-old child, and certainly not a news professional — should be a victim of gun violence in our community.”
Mina said authorities did not immediately find a motive for the shooting.
“So the suspect is not talking much now,” Mina said. “It’s not clear if he knew it was the media or not. We’re still trying to sort it all out.”
Mina said the News 13 vehicle is not like a typical news van with TV station markings.
Deputies initially responded to the incident in the Pine Hills area, northwest of Orlando, on Wednesday morning after reports that a woman in her 20s had been shot.
Moses “was familiar with the woman this morning, but as far as we know, had no relationship with the reporters and no relationship with the mother and the nine-year-old,” Mina said.
According to witnesses, a man walked up to a news machine later Wednesday and opened fire, then walked to a nearby home and shot a mother and daughter.
Mina said Moses has already been charged with the initial victim’s murder, and charges are expected soon for the other four victims. Moses’ criminal history includes weapons charges as well as aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft, the sheriff said.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the crew member injured in Orange County, Florida, and the entire Spectrum News team,” White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said on Twitter.
Spectrum News 13 has not yet identified the crew members involved in the shooting, according to a story on the 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 reporter Celeste Springer said during her live broadcast.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 40 journalists were killed worldwide last year, plus two more this year by Wednesday. Only one of them was in the USA.