The 19-year-old suspect in a triple-slaying in Orlando, Fla. reportedly has a criminal background and, even if he didn’t, he could not have been legally carrying the handgun allegedly used in the crime, which took the lives of a 38-year-old woman, 9-year-old girl and a 24-year-old Spectrum News reporter who was on the job.
Reporter Dylan Lyons was killed and his cameraman, Jesse Walden was critically wounded. They were covering the earlier shooting death of a woman when the suspect returned to the scene, opened fire on the news vehicle, then fled to a nearby home where he shot a woman and fatally wounded her daughter.
The suspect is identified as Keith Melvin Moses. According to Fox News, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office believes he is responsible for all three homicides.
Fox 35 News in Orlando said Moses has a record that includes a November 2021 arrest for possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia, but those charges were later dropped.
However, the suspect’s history includes “gun charges, aggravated battery and assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft charges,” according to Orlando County Sheriff John Mina, speaking to a press briefing Wednesday.
The first victim has been identified as 38-year-old Nathacha Augustin, according to WKMG News. She was found dead from a gunshot wound and police were investigating at the scene—and both Lyons and Walden were covering the investigation—when Moses reportedly returned and started shooting.
NPR is reporting that the Committee to Protect Journalists says the slaying is “deeply disturbing that a journalist was killed while covering the gun violence that has become a sickening reality of living in the United States.”
By no small coincidence, this incident comes at a time the Florida Legislature is poised to pass a bill allowing permitless concealed carry. The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the bill already has momentum, and the legislature hasn’t yet convened. Saying the bill is “just a few steps away from becoming law,” the Times adds, “That’s despite concerns being raised both by gun rights supporters and those wanting stronger safety measures.”
While it is true the legislation may not be true “constitutional carry” because it lacks an open carry component, passage would amount to a huge step toward that ultimate goal, say some Sunshine State rights activists. On the other side, opponents are preparing to put up a fight, especially since Gov. Ron DeSantis has indicated he will sign the measure.
Democrats do not have enough votes to stop the bill, which passed out of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee 5-3 along party lines.
Now, with the murder of a working journalist, the question remains whether anti-gunners will attempt to capitalize on the tragedy.
Fox News noted the reporter’s sister, Rachel Lyons, said a GoFundMe campaign has been established, with this explanation: “I am trying to raise money for my litter brother’s funeral.”