Florida TV journalist shot dead while covering murder

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – A gunman opened fire on two TV journalists covering a murder near Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday, killing one and wounding the other before fatally shooting a 9-year-old girl and her mother in one nearby house wounded, authorities called.

A suspect, identified as Keith Melvin Moses, 19, was arrested shortly after the attacks on the TV news crew and the mother and daughter, about a block apart, in the Orlando suburb of Pine Hills, the sheriff said of Orange County, John Mina.

Moses was arrested as a suspect in both attacks and officially charged with killing a woman in her 20s hours earlier, a shootout the two journalists reported when they came under fire, Mina said.

The sheriff described the two journalists as reporters and photographers for the central Florida cable television station Spectrum News 13, which is owned by Charter Communications.

None of the victims have been identified.

Mina said the suspect was armed with a handgun when arrested and had a long criminal record that included arrests for gun offenses, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand larceny.

Mina said a motive had not been determined for any of Wednesday’s shootings, but he said Moses was believed to have been an acquaintance of the first victim, who was shot while she was in a car with the alleged gunman and another person.

The sheriff said he didn’t know if the two journalists were targeted because they were journalists, adding that their car lacked the logos and markings typically seen on a news vehicle. They were in or near their vehicle when they were shot.

“As far as we know, he had no connection to the reporters and no connection to the mother or the 9-year-old, and we don’t know why he broke into her home,” the sheriff said.

He said both the mother and the surviving journalist are in critical condition in hospital.

“This is another tragic reminder that journalism is a dangerous business and that criminals and those who are the subject of reporting can become violent towards reporters doing their jobs,” the National Press Club said.

The organization urged all reporters on the ground to take extra precautions and redouble their efforts to work safely.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre posted a message of condolences on Twitter.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the injured crew member in Orange County, Fla., as well as the entire Spectrum News team,” she said.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman and Costas Pitas in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Yana Gaur; Editing by Eric Beech, Leslie Adler and Kim Coghill)


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