After the Orlando Shooting, Families Struggle to Cope

Four children taken hostage are dead; one officer is comatose with 'a long road ahead for recovery,' following long standoff

A family representative says the mother of four children who were held hostage and killed Monday in Orlando, Florida, has been “grieving considerably” since the tragedy, which also left a police officer comatose with a head wound and the gunman dead.

“I am heartbroken and feel completely alone,” the spokesman, Walter Benenati, quoted Ciara Lopez as saying, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Lopez, 31, wants her children to be remembered as “loving, wonderful,” and “full of life,” the report said.

Meanwhile, injured police Officer Kevin Valencia was comatose and in critical condition Wednesday, with “a long road ahead for recovery,” said Dr. Chadwick Smith at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

“We were each other’s first boyfriend and girlfriend when we were 12,” Valencia’s wife, Meghan, told the Associated Press. “You can imagine this person is literally everything to me.”

The deadly ordeal started Sunday night when Lopez left her apartment.

She told police she had been battered by suspect Gary Wayne Lindsey, 35.

After a long standoff, in which Lindsey barricaded himself inside the apartment and ultimately killed himself, police were able to enter the apartment Monday night. They found two of the children dead in one bedroom, and two other children in another bedroom.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina confirmed that all four children had been killed by Lindsey, not by police shots fired at Lindsey during a shootout.

Authorities identified the children as Irayan Pluth, 11; Lillia Pluth, 10; Aidan Lindsey, six; and Dove Lindsey, one.

Benenati is managing a GoFundMe page for the family to help cover funeral expenses, the Sentinel reported.

Meanwhile, Meghan Valencia asked for prayers from the public for her police officer husband.

Related: Men and Women of Law Enforcement Never Give Up

“He needs all the support he can get,” she said. “So that he can wake up. So that he can live because my boys need a daddy and I need my husband and this community needs a real hero.”

A separate GoFundMe page has been established for the injured officer. As of Thursday morning, it was about halfway toward its goal.

This Fox News piece is used by permission; the Associated Press contributed.

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(photo credit, homepage image: Orlando Shooting, Screenshot, by WFTV; photo credit, article image: Orlando Shooting, GoFundMe, by Walter Benenati)

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