Three dead in double murder-suicide in Lakeland home Christmas Eve; 4 children found inside safe

ORLANDO, Fla. —Three adults were killed in a double murder-suicide at a Lakeland home Christmas Eve, but four children inside the home at the time of the shooting were found unharmed, according Lakeland police spokeswoman Robin Tillett.

Leighton Josephs, 30, is accused of entering the home Tuesday evening armed with a handgun and opening fire on the man and woman inside the home, killing them, Tillett said. Investigators say Josephs then shot himself.

Tillett said that investigators have reason to believe that Josephs knew both the man and woman whom he shot. The man who died was 27, the woman was 30.

The four children who were found in the home were all under the age of 10. Tillett said they are not releasing the names of the man, woman or four children.

The relationship among the children and adults, or with Josephs, was not immediately clear.

Lakeland police were initially called to the home about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after someone reported hearing gunshots, Tillett said.

Lakeland Police Capt. Ed Cain called the incident a “horrific tragedy that will impact lives for years to come” in a late night news conference Tuesday, recorded by WSTP-Channel 10. They said the investigation remains ongoing.