Man kills wife, stepkids, self; spares own kids

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RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A South Florida man spared his two biological children when he fatally shot his estranged wife and four stepchildren early Monday before turning the gun on himself, police said.

Seven children were inside the home when Patrick Dell, 41, shot Natasha Whyte-Dell, 36, and her four children, who were all pronounced dead at the scene. A 15-year-old at the home was brought to the hospital.

Investigators believe Mr. Dell acted alone when he shot his family with a handgun. Neighbors said he was kicked out of a club Sunday night because he was drunk and making threats. It was unclear if the threats were directed at his family.

Police said there was a restraining order against Mr. Dell. The details of the restraining order were not immediately known.

Chief Clarence Williams said authorities would not comment on a motive, other than a pending divorce.

The 15-year-old, who was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital, was responsive before going into surgery Monday morning, Chief Williams said.

“All indications are that he’s doing well,” Chief Williams said.

Two of the couple’s biological children, believed to be ages 1 and 3, were being cared for by relatives, police said.

A police officer was checking a suspicious vehicle around 2 a.m. when he heard what sounded like muffled gun shots, Riviera Beach police spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown said. When officers approached the home, Mr. Dell went outside and shot himself, she said.

Inside the home, officers found the bodies of the woman and four children identified as 10-year-old Daniel Barnett, 11-year-old Javon Nelson, 13-year-old Diane Barnett and 14-year-old Bryan Barnett.

Neighbor Keisha Gordon said she was with Mr. Dell at a club late Sunday night when he was asked to leave because he was drunk and causing trouble. Mr. Dell didn’t go out a lot, but he did have a temper, she said.

“He was talking about chopping up somebody,” 30-year-old Ms. Gordon said, standing across the street from the yellow house with the green trim now cordoned off by police tape.

They left the club and continued partying at a nearby park, where Mr. Dell also was asked to leave, she said.

“He always felt like people was against him,” she said.

Dora Pouncey said her children were playing with the victims earlier Sunday. When her son came home, he said Mr. Dell and the two oldest boys had been arguing on the front lawn, but she didn’t know why.

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