LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) —The Lake Wales community is in mourning after a senseless shooting that took the lives of a 40-year-old mother and her three children, ages 11, 17 and 21.
“Our hearts are broken for the deceased individuals,” said Lake Wales Police Chief Chris Velasquez. “We don’t have a motive.”
The Seminole County Sheriff said 38-year-old Al Stenson murdered his girlfriend, her two daughters and her son inside their home at the Sunrise Park Apartments, then took off.
Police tracked his vehicle to the Slumberland Motel in Sanford, where the suspects brother was staying. The Seminole County Sheriff said officers killed Stenson who was allegedly armed.
“They seem like a normal happy couple to me,” said Heather Haider, neighbor. “He was always sitting under the tree, listening to the music, and they were always walking their dogs together, but I guess you never know what’s going on with people.”
Family members identified the woman as Marlene Pizarro. Neighbors tell 8 On Your Side that Pizarro was an ESE teacher at Lake Wales High School. Haider said she would see Pizarro and her children outside daily.
“One was going to graduate this month from Lake Wales high school and the other was in elementary school student,” she said.
This tragedy has shaken the community.
“It’s scary that we were all in our apartment sleeping and had no idea that something like this was going on and no one heard and no one could help,” said Haider.
Neither police nor Lake Wales High School would confirm the identities of the victims, citing Marcy’s Law.