BELL, Fla. – According to the police, 51-year-old Don Spirit killed his daughter and his 6 grandchildren before committing suicide, served time in jail almost 10 years ago after he accidentally shot his son to death during a hunting trip.
His daughter, 28-year-old Sarah Lorraine Spirit, was on probation when she was killed. 2 men who fathered her slay the children are locked up.
On Friday, Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz couldn’t say what the reason of the shootings was. On Thursday afternoon, Don Spirit called 911 from his home to say that he might hurt himself or others. By the time a deputy approached his mobile home along a dirt road in this town, Spirit had committed suicide.
Schultz said, “There are still a lot of unanswered questions. There’s going to be questions that we’re never going to get answered”.
Bell, in which almost 500 individuals live, is located in Gilchrist County. It’s south of Tallahassee, west of Gainesville and about 3 hours north of Tampa. Unlike much of Florida, it is not known for theme parks or beaches or tourist spots. Big dairy farms are present there and most individuals spend their free time dirt biking, hunting or fishing. It is common for people to live in mobile homes on several acres, and Don Spirit was no different.
On Friday night, several hundred individuals were present at the local high school football game, many of them wearing white in honor of the victims.
27-year-old Danielle Barry grew up in Bell but now lives in a town almost a half-hour away. She was a high school classmate of Sarah Spirit. “I got off work early to at least wear the white shirt and support everyone the best I could. Never live for tomorrow because tomorrow isn’t promised”. She also said that Sarah was a really good girl, and she had a lot of potential.
It is not confirmed when Don Spirit first arrived in Bell. His criminal records show that he was in the Tampa area in the mid- to late-1990s. There, he was charged with a variety of offenses in which leaving the scene of an accident involving death were also included.
Schultz said that Don Spirit couldn’t legally have a gun due to the reason that he had a felony record.
The victims who died due to the gunshot wounds were Sarah Spirit and her children: 11-year-old Kaleb Kuhlmann; 9-year-old Kylie Kuhlmann; 8-year-old Johnathon Kuhlmann; 5-year-old Destiny Stewart; 4-year-old Brandon Stewart, and Alanna Stewart, who was born in June.
According to Schultz, they were found “all over the property”.
According to Gilchrist County criminal records, Sarah Spirit was taken into custody on 26th of August for violating her probation. It is not known when she was released.
Don Spirit was convicted in 2001, in a case where he accidentally shot and killed his 8-year-old son, Kyle, Sarah’s younger brother. Orlando Sentinel told that on a walk through the woods with Kyle and an older son, Spirit pointed out rust on the muzzle of his rifle. The rifle fired, hitting Kyle in the head. Due to the reason of an earlier felony conviction for marijuana possession, Don Spirit couldn’t legally have a gun and spent almost 3 years in prison.
A friend of Sarah Spirit, Kasey Hart said in a Facebook message that Sarah was a busy mom, who loved to laugh and watch comedies. “Her poor mother has lost her youngest son, oldest daughter and all her grandkids to her ex-husband”.
Both of the men who fathered Sarah Spirit’s children are locked up. Edward Kuhlman, who was the father of the 3 oldest children, is in state prison for a dozen burglary and grand theft charges. He was serving a 25-year sentence for his offense. James Stewart is in Levy County jail on a probation violation charge, according to the online records.
Property records show that Don Spirit has lived in the mobile home where he shot his family since 2006. The two-acre property is for $20,000, as shown by the county property appraiser.
According to the Gilchrist County Schools Superintendent Rob Rankin, 4 of the children attended Bell Elementary School. They were enrolled in kindergarten, second grade, third grade and fifth grade. A teacher at the school said that she put the children on a bus to go home around 3 p.m. They were found dead at Spirit’s home less than 2 hours later.
29-year-old Bell resident Barbara Whiddon cried when asked about the killings at a convenience store. She said she knew some of the slain children. She said, “If he was going to do something he should have done it to himself. The babies are God’s angels”.
News Source: www.NOLA.com