The wife of an Orlando officer who was critically injured during a standoff that left four children dead broke down in tears as she implored her husband to get better and come home soon.
Meghan Valencia, wife of Officer Kevin Valencia, sobbed at a news conference Wednesday as she described being woken up by officers in the middle of the night.
“They told me that my husband had been shot trying to save some kids,” she said.
Officer Valencia was shot Sunday night while responding to a domestic violence call at an apartment in Orlando during a standoff that stretched into Monday night. After shooting him, gunman Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr. barricaded himself in the apartment with the four children ages 1 to 11 and shot them dead — then turned the gun on himself.
Lindsey’s girlfriend made the initial call after she had left the apartment, police said. When officers arrived at the scene following the domestic violence call, Lindsey opened fire, hitting Valencia.
Officer Valencia is in a coma and faces a long road to recovery, his doctor said.
“He is fighting every second, and I need him to continue to fight,” Meghan Valencia said of her hospitalized husband. “My boys need their daddy and I need my husband.”
Orlando police Chief John Mina said officers were in contact with Lindsey by phone throughout the day Monday, and entered the apartment that night to find the children dead of gunshot wounds in two bedrooms. Lindsey’s body was found in a closet with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
There was never any indication of an imminent threat to the children during the standoff as authorities talked to the suspect while SWAT team members studied the apartment layout, according to police.
“We have no idea when those poor children lost their lives. That will all be part of the investigation,” Mina said. Two children are believed to be Lindsey’s and two are his girlfriend’s.
At one point, officers tried to give Lindsey another phone because his phone had a bad connection, and during the exchange they saw that one of the children was dead, authorities said.
Meghan Valencia said as a parent, she can’t imagine what the children’s relatives are going through.
“I’m sorry for those families,” she said. “It is more than what anybody can bear. I know every officer wanted to get those children out. Each and every one of them feels the weight of the world because they couldn’t.”
Gunman stole weapon
Lindsey, 35, used a handgun he stole from his father to kill all the children, Mina said, adding that it was the only gun found at the scene.
Earlier this week, Mina had said the gunman inherited two rifles, two shotguns and a handgun from his father.
He had been arrested before for arson and domestic violence battery, police said. Criminal records show he has been arrested four times for violating his probation, CNN affiliate WKMG reported.
“Knowing this person … it’s a shame that this person was not behind bars,” Mina said.
Officer Valencia is in his late 20s and has been with the Orlando police since 2016. His children are ages 5 years old and 8 months.