Just before 2 a.m. yesterday, Patrick Alexander Dell entered the Riviera Beach home of his estranged wife and her seven children, shot her and five of the children, and then killed himself as police began to arrive.
Natasha Whyte-Dell and four of her children died. Another child, 15-year-old Ryan Barnett, is in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the neck. A post to Barnett's Facebook page by his cousin Andrew Whitfield says that he's OK but in pain.
Whyte-Dell lived in a house at 1225 W. 30th St. and was the mother of all the children. Patrick Dell spared the lives of the two children he fathered with Whyte-Dell, ages 1 and 3, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Officials at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, where Barnett is a student, say that the school has not organized a response to the event yet but that Principal Joseph Lee was visiting Barnett this afternoon at Saint Mary's Medical Center.
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New Times has reached out to some of Barnett's friends for comments and is awaiting more information from the Police Department, the school, and the county. We'll post updates as they're available.
Update: Sandy Reynolds, the senior program coordinator with Palm Beach County's victim services department, says that her department, the Riviera Beach police, and the Florida Department of Children and Families are all reaching out to Barnett and his two half-siblings, providing crisis intervention and counseling. "The state will look at the surviving family members to seek the best guardianship for the children," says Reynolds. She adds that the county may "choose the best family member to apply for victim compensation funding" from the state attorney general's office, which could help pay for funeral and medical expenses.
Update 2: Barnett's friend Tommy Wilkerson writes in a Facebook message to New Times, "Well me and ryan hung out everyday in school in for him not to joke with or post up in our spot or juz not hearin my friend laugh is juz not to same i really hope i dont lose my friend...."
As the Sun-Sentinel reported, the incident was one of three murder-suicides taking place in South Florida on Monday. A man killed himself and his ex-lover outside her Lauderdale Lakes home, and yesterday evening, sheriff's deputies discovered the bodies of another couple at their house in Tamarac.