A Florida suspect in the deaths of three children and their mother was fatally shot by law enforcement after an hours-long standoff at the Slumberland Motel on Wednesday in Sanford, authorities said.
Al Joseph Stetson, 38, killed the 40-year-old woman and her 21-year-old, 17-year-old and 11-year-old children in their apartment during the early morning hours on Tuesday, the Lake Wales police department said in a news statement. Law enforcement didn't learn about the deaths until 8:51 p.m. that night when family members notified authorities, the Lake Wales Police Department said in a statement.
Officials said the motive for the murders is unknown but at a news conference on Wednesday morning Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said the suspect killed "an entire family" and the woman was the girlfriend of the suspect.
Lemma said Stetson had prior run-ins with the criminal justice system and had domestic violence charges on his record.
Stetson fled around 5:30 a.m. to the Slumberland Motel in Sanford where his brother was staying, authorities said. Slumberland Motel is a daily or weekly hotel, and the brother had been staying at the motel, Sanford Police Department Chief Cecil Smith said at the Wednesday news conference.
CBS News reached out to the Slumberland Motel for comment.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said the suspect's car was seen parked directly across from the Slumberland Motel. Local police contacted the sheriff's department and around 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and a SWAT team arrived at the location, authorities said.
Negotiators spoke to the suspect's brother and suspect in an effort to get him to surrender, authorities said. For hours, the negotiation continued. Lemma said the suspect said the situation was going to end in three ways: "I'm going to kill myself, you are going to kill me or I'm going to surrender."
Authorities asked other motel residents to either "shelter in place" or evacuate the hotel. They eventually brought the brother to safety. Stetson put his gun on the ground, Lemma said, and negotiators deployed a "foam baton" intended to neutralize the suspect so they "could go in and apprehend him."
As SWAT team members went in, the suspect reached for his gun, authorities said. He was "going for the gun on the ground" when law enforcement opened fire, fatally striking Stetson.
Law enforcement who shot the suspect included two members of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, one member of the Altamonte Springs Police Department and one member of the Sanford Police Department, the sheriff said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
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