4 children without parents after double-murder suicide in Lakeland, police say

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Police say a man killed his estranged girlfriend and another man before turning the gun on himself at a home in Lakeland on Tuesday night.

Four children were inside the home when the shooting occurred.

Lakeland police shared more information regarding the Christmas Eve tragedy in a press release Friday, saying that Leighton Josephs, 30, had been in a long-term relationship with his female victim and that the two had two children together.

Courtesy: Brain O’Leary

“Over the past few months, their relationship had become strained,” police said.

8 On Your Side spoke to relatives of the victims who say, Ramsey and Christopher Pine, 27, were both the victims in this case. The medical examiner confirmed both victims’ identities.

Lakeland police say Ramsey and Pine, who was a friend, had brought his two children to her home on Atlanta Avenue ahead of a Christmas Eve church service.

Investigators say Josephs walked into the home and shot the two victims before killing himself.

8 On Your Side obtained records from Lakeland police that show officers were called to the home on Atlanta Avenue nine times over the last 13 months.

Police said none of the children were injured and they are now in the care of family members.

The names of the victims’ children are being protected under Marsy’s Law. The community stepped up in a big way over the last couple of days to save Christmas for the kids left behind.

A candlelight vigil is planned to take place for Racheal Ramsey at the Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror in Lakeland on Dec.30 at 6 p.m.


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