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Reporter, Nine-Year-Old Shot and Killed, Photojournalist and Mother Shot and Wounded Near Scene of Firearm Homicide Investigation in Pine Hills, Florida; Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond

February 23, 2023

Media Was Responding to the Scene of a Firearm Homicide Investigation Where a Woman Was Found Shot and Killed Earlier in the Day

PINE HILLS, Fla. – Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements in response to three shootings in Pine Hills, Florida earlier yesterday where three people were shot and killed and two others shot and wounded. While reporting at the scene of a homicide investigation where a woman had been shot and killed, a reporter and photojournalist from Spectrum News 13 were shot in their vehicle and one was killed. After that shooting, according to reports, the gunman shot and killed a 9-year-old girl and shot and wounded her mother in their home, who is in critical condition. While details are still unfolding, law enforcement announced the suspect they believe is responsible for all of the shootings is in custody and has a “lengthy criminal history, to include gun charges, aggravated battery and assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft charges.” 

“Our hearts are with all those impacted from this tragic and senseless shooting — you can’t work, you can’t eat a family dinner, or go to school without the fear of being shot,” said Beth Lashley Rothwell, a volunteer with the Florida Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We can’t even get through a week without gun violence tearing families and our communities apart. Meanwhile, our lawmakers and Governor DeSantis continue to advance permitless carry in our state — it’s cruel and a dereliction of duty to the people they are sworn to protect.” 

“As legislators in Tallahassee are working to further weaken the state’s gun laws, yet another Florida community has been shattered by gun violence. Our hearts go out to the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy and to the Pine Hills community,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “If Governor DeSantis and state legislators continue to push for permitless carry in the wake of this tragedy, they’ll be sending a clear message to Floridians that they’ll sacrifice public safety and put communities at greater risk in order to score a few political points with the gun lobby.”

“We all deserve to feel safe at work and in our own homes, yet that was once again taken away from a child, a mother and even members of the news media simply doing their jobs,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Shame on Florida lawmakers who seek to further gut gun safety laws while gun violence continues to get worse. Unfortunately, no community is safe from gun violence which is why we need action to keep illegal guns off our streets, not pass laws like permitless carry which make it easier for anyone to carry guns no questions asked.”

These shootings come the day after Florida Senate Republicans advanced dangerous legislation allowing permitless carry would allow people to carry concealed firearms in public places without a permit, criminal history check, or safety training, dismantling Florida’s system of responsible gun ownership.

Concealed carry permitting systems enjoy overwhelming support nationally. The majority of Americans support concealed carry permitting systems that help ensure that only responsible gun owners can carry concealed guns in public — 88 percent of Americans think you should get a permit before carrying a concealed gun in public. Over 80 percent of gun owners, non-gun owners, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agree that high safety standards are critical in issuing concealed carry permits.

In an average year 2,989 people are killed by guns in Florida, and over 5,200 more are shot and wounded. Gun violence costs Florida $40.3 billion each year, of which $875.9 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Florida is available here.

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