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Six dead in apparent murder-suicide in Florida

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Family shooting a tragic, horrific scene
  • A woman and four of her children were shot to death in Florida
  • The woman's husband shot and killed himself when he saw police, authorities said
  • Four of the man's stepchildren were killed, and a fifth was wounded
  • Two of his biological children apparently were not hurt

Read more coverage of this story at CNN affiliate WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.

(CNN) -- Six people have died in an apparent murder-suicide in Riviera Beach, Florida, police said Monday.

A police officer was investigating a suspicious car when he heard shots and saw a man walk out of a home shortly after 2 a.m. ET, according to a statement from the Riviera Beach Police Department.

The man shot and killed himself when he spotted the officer, the statement said. Authorities identified him as Patrick Dell, 41.

Inside the house, police found the bodies of the man's 36-year-old estranged wife, Natasha Whyte Dell, and four of his stepchildren, ranging in age from 10 to 14, the statement said. A fifth stepchild was hospitalized with a gunshot wound.

Two biological children of Dell and his wife, believed to be 1 and 3, apparently were not hurt. The police statement says that they are being cared for by relatives.

Investigators identified the children who were killed as Daniel Barnett, 10; Javon Nelson, 11; Diane Barnett, 13 and Bryan Barnett, 14. Grief counselors plan to go to the children's schools Monday, the police said.

"This is a sad day for Riviera Beach," Police Chief Clarence Williams said in the statement. "Many families have been tragically impacted by this unfortunate incident.

"Had it not been for excellent police work, this suspect could have escaped the scene and possibly injured or killed other innocent victims."

Investigators believe "Dell acted alone," the police statement said.