Shooter kills 5 at business near Orlando

Filed under BUSINESS, FLORIDA, FRONT PAGE, NATIONAL, NEWS

BY DAVID HARRIS
AND MICHAEL WILLIAMS
ORLANDO SENTINEL/TNS

ORLANDO — Five employees were killed in a shooting at Fiamma, a business on North Forsyth Road near Hanging Moss Road near Orlando, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday morning.

The shooter — a former “disgruntled employee” who was fired in April — then killed himself, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. The shooter had previously been accused of battering a fellow employee.

Four people — three males and a female — were dead at the scene, and another victim died at the hospital, Demings said. The shooting appears to have nothing to do with terrorism.

The scene from a fatal shooting on Forsyth Road in Florida’s east Orange County on June 5, 2017. (Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Another ‘sad day’
The shooting happened in multiple locations at the business, Demings said. It is unclear how the shooter, who has not been identified, got into the building. There were about 12 employees inside the building at the time of the shooting.

“Sad day for us once again here in Orange County. … Hearts and prayers go out to family of the victims,” Demings said.

The call came in at 8:03 a.m. as an active shooter, and deputies were there in two minutes, he added.

“The situation here appears to be very different from the situation at Pulse,” Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said. She commended the Sheriff’s Office for its quick action.

Jennifer Blevins said her father, Robert Snyder works at Fiamma.

“I saw the post on Facebook, and my heart sank,” Blevins said. She said she tried calling her father, but he didn’t pick up the phone.

“I called my mom to let her know what was happening. We can’t get a hold of him,” she said.

Shelley Adams said her sister, who works at Fiamma, was in the bathroom when she heard shots.

“She came out and saw a man on the floor,” she said.

Adams said her sister is OK and was taken to a nearby fire department training facility. “God had his hand on her,” she said.

The Orange County Fire and Rescue Training and Command Simulation Academy is about a half-mile away. An employee there would only say, “We’ve had some things going on here today.”

Adams was at a loss of words as to why someone would shoot up a business.

“How do you take people’s lives?” Adams said. “That’s shocking.”

About the company
Fiamma Inc., at 2427 Forsyth Road, is a more than 70-year-old family-run company that specializes in “lightweight easy to operate RV awnings with hand-built craftsmanship,” according to the company’s website.

The company is headquartered in the Italian town of Cardano al Campo, northwest of Milan, according to the company’s timeline on its site.

Fiamma supplies awnings and related parts to RV dealers across the U.S. and Canada and also sells directly to customers.

The company registered in the state of Florida in 1991, according to Florida’s corporate records.

Scott urges prayer
Gov. Rick Scott, in a statement, said he was briefed about the “tragic incident.”

“I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available,” his statement said.

“We are thinking of and praying for all affected,” the Orlando Police Department tweeted.

Monday’s shooting comes as the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando approaches. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history with 49 people killed by a gunman in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016.

Beth Kassab, Ryan Gillespie and Stephen Hudak contributed to this report.

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