BOCA RATON, Fla. – A woman and a man were found dead in South Florida Sunday afternoon after a murder and a suicide that followed an apparent dispute between family members over access to a vacation home, police said Monday.
Officers responded shortly before 3:30 p.m. Sunday to a residence in Boca Raton after a neighbor reported a domestic disturbance. A woman and a man told officers they fled the home after a relative had attacked them.
They also told police that another relative was believed to be inside with their attacker.
Investigators say the man shot and killed a female relative, then turned the gun and killed himself. Before shooting himself, the gunman also struck another female relative on the head with the gun and fired at least one shot at a male relative but did not hit that person, police said.
Police did not identify the victims, citing a 2018 state constitutional amendment that allows either crime victims or their family members to invoke their right to privacy and withhold their names from public reports.
Investigators also did not disclose the gunman’s name, with a department spokesperson saying that doing so would identify his relatives. Police did not say how they are related.
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Dispute over family vacation home
A preliminary investigation showed that several family members were traveling to Florida to spend a vacation at the house. The police statement did disclose the family’s primary place of residence.
Days prior to the arrival of other relatives, the suspected gunman was found inside the home but did not have permission to be there, police said. It was not known how long he had been staying there.
The woman who would later be killed was the first of the other family members to arrive and she asked her uninvited relative to leave. At some point during her stay, she was killed inside the residence, police said.
The other relatives arrived Sunday and tried to make contact with the woman. They tried reaching her by text and by phone, and one received a text message back from her phone saying the home’s side door was open.
However, the gunman attacked them when they entered with their luggage, according to city police. One was able to flee and seek help. The other fled when the gunman became distracted by his firearm, police report.
The motive for the killing remains under investigation, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective George Reilly at (561) 544-8660.
Follow Julius Whigham II on Twitter: @JuliusWhigham.
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