The wife of an Orlando cop shot in the head by a felon on probation who killed himself and four child hostages aged one to 11 after a day-long standoff with police has begged her husband to ‘keep fighting’ as she reveals he is in a coma.
Speaking through tears, Meghan Valencia told a press conference on Wednesday that Officer Kevin Valencia was ‘fighting every second’ as she appealed to well-wishers to pray for him, saying, ‘My boys need their daddy and I need my husband’.
Officer Valencia was shot by Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr, 35, on Sunday while responding to reports he had hit his girlfriend, Ciara Lopez, 31. Lindsey barricaded himself in her apartment with the children and shot them dead before turning the gun on himself.
The children, all of which belonged to Lopez and two of whom were fathered by Lindsey, have been identified as Irayan Pluth, 12; Lillia Pluth, 10; Aidan Lindsey, 6; and 22-month-old Dove Lindsey.
Sobbing as she spoke about her husband, Meghan said they are childhood sweethearts and have two sons, aged five and eight months. ‘We were each other’s first boyfriend and girlfriend when we were 12,’ she said.
‘You can imagine this person is everything to me. He blessed me with two amazing little boys and he is the most amazing father ever.’
And she lauded her husband as a ‘true, true hero’ for trying to rescue the four children
‘I’m sorry for those families. I’m a mom and I cannot even imagine what they’re going through. It is more than what anybody can bear.
‘I know every officer wanted to get those children out. And believe me, when I say that each and every single one of them feels the weight of the world because they cannot.’
Dr Chadwick Smith at Orlando Regional Medical Center said Officer Valencia was in a coma but ‘showing signs of responsiveness’. ‘He has a long road ahead for recovery,’ Dr Smith added.
Sunday night’s standoff began when Lopez fled the apartment and told police Lindsey had battered her. At 11.45pm, Lindsey fired at responding officers, seriously wounding Valencia. One officer was able to return fire.
Judy Pepper, who lives in the apartment complex, told the Sentinel that she had fallen asleep on the couch after watching a Sunday night baseball game on television when she heard four loud gunshots.
‘It just went, Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop,’ Pepper said.
She looked out the window and saw three people carrying a police officer onto the grass. She said other officers arrived, cut open his shirt and appeared to be putting bandages on his neck. Then, they put him in a patrol car and sped away.
‘Hell, yes, I was absolutely terrified,’ she said.
Officers did not raid the apartment until 9pm on Monday.
Lindsey was found dead in a closet when officers raided the apartment, which belonged to Lopez, at 9pm on Monday. Two of the children were found in one bedroom, and the other two were found in another bedroom.
The medical examiner on Wednesday reported that children were killed from bullets from Lindsey’s .380-caliber handgun, which he had stolen from his father. They were not hit during the exchange of fire from officers, Orlando Police Department said.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina defended the decision not to storm the apartment sooner, saying such actions might have provoked Lindsey and put the children in harm’s way. Meanwhile, Meghan asked for prayers from the public.
‘He needs all the support he can get,’ Meghan Valencia said. ‘So that he can wake up. So that he can live because my boys need a daddy and I need my husband and this community needs a real hero.’
Meanwhile, Lopez said she now feels ‘heartbroken’ and ‘completely alone’.
The devastated mother said she wanted her children to be remembered as loving and ‘full of life.’
Career criminal Lindsey was meant to be on community control – a form of supervised probation which includes house confinement – until the year 2045.
This order was made by a judge last month after he violated probation for an arson incident a decade earlier by stealing from a shop, according to court records seen by CBS 19.
After this incident his probation officer said he posed no threat to the community but still recommended he be jailed for six months. However, a judge decided to give him supervised probation instead.
In 2008, a woman Lindsey was dating at the time said he grabbed a kitchen knife and began stabbing the living room TV. He punched the TV with his fist then went into the bedroom and tore another monitor off the wall and began jumping on it.
The woman tried to call for help but Lindsey had broken her phone. Lindsey then grabbed gas cans from the side of the property and set it on fire. He was later caught by cops at a traffic stop after noting his clothes smelled of gasoline.
The thug was arrested again in 2012 on domestic violence charges after an incident with another woman (not the one from the 2008 confrontation).
This woman, who said she had been dating Lindsey for two years, said that he grabbed her by her neck during an argument, held a knife to her face and threatened to kill her.
The woman was holding her seven-month-old son at the time, who was not hurt.
Lindsey denied grabbing the woman or threatening her and prosecutors decided not to push forward with the case. It is unclear if either women from the prior two incidents was the woman who escaped Lindsey on Sunday.
The career criminal was described as ‘weird’ by neighbors at Westbrook Apartments where he lived with Lopez.
Meanwhile, neighbor Nicole Gonzalez said the children were ‘beautiful, sweet and mild-mannered’.
A family friend who set up a GoFundMe account for the family, said Irayan was extremely successful at school while Lillia loved spending time with her friends.
Aidan loved dinosaurs, she said, while Dove, who was about to turn two, was a lively toddler.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Officer Valencia, which has currently raised nearly $80,000 for a police charity.