(CNN) — Investigators are trying to determine what prompted a series of deadly shootings Wednesday in a neighborhood outside Orlando, Florida. The shooting killed a 9-year-old girl, a woman and a television journalist covering one of the incidents, authorities said.
A suspect in the shooting, who also wounded the girl’s mother and one of the journalist’s colleagues, was arrested Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said, ending a wave of violence that lasted for several hours at West Orlando.
“No one in our community, not a mother, not a 9-year-old girl, (and) certainly not news professionals, should become a victim of gun violence in our community,” said Orange County Sheriff John Mina, at a press conference detailing the suspect’s arrest.
“We really don’t know what was on this suspect’s mind,” Mina said. “Hopefully at some point he will talk to us about what his motives were.”
The suspect, 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses, is being held on one count of murder in Wednesday’s first shooting and is expected to be charged in the others, Mina said.
The first shooting, reported around 11 a.m. Wednesday, killed a woman in her 20s inside a vehicle on Hialeah Street in Orange County. That woman is believed to be an acquaintance of the suspect, Mina said.
Later that day, after the vehicle had been towed away, the gunman returned to the area and shot two Spectrum News 13 journalists, a reporter and a photographer, who were covering the murder of the woman, Mina said.
One of the journalists died. The other was in critical condition Wednesday but was speaking and was expected to undergo further treatment at a hospital Wednesday night, the news station said, without naming either man.
After he fired at reporters, the suspect entered a home on a nearby street and shot a mother and her 9-year-old daughter, the sheriff said. Both were taken to a hospital, where the girl died and the mother was in critical condition Wednesday night, authorities said.
“We don’t know why he went into that house,” the sheriff said.
Investigators are also looking into whether the suspect, who the sheriff says has a lengthy criminal record, knew that Spectrum News 13 employees were members of the media.
Officials said they believe Moses had no connection to the reporters or the mother and daughter.
The names of the dead and injured were not released by authorities on Wednesday.
“Every Reporter’s Worst Nightmare”
Investigators quickly identified Moses as a suspect in the first shooting and were following leads when they shot at the television reporters around 4 p.m., the sheriff said.
The two journalists were shot in or around their vehicle, Mina said.
“That vehicle was in almost the exact same location as the homicide vehicle this morning,” Mina said. “It is not clear why exactly they were targeted.”
The journalists’ vehicle “did not look like your typical news vehicle with lots of markings,” Mina said.
Spectrum News 13, a CNN affiliate, mourned its slain colleague during a newscast on Wednesday. He said that he was not yet going to identify the two employees.
“These are people that we were regularly conversing with here in the newsroom this afternoon. It was a normal day. And they really weren’t just colleagues, but family members,” said host Greg Angel.
Spectrum News 13 also thanked employees at competing media outlets for coming to the aid of their colleagues.
“Some of our competitors… were quick to help our colleagues, and we want them to know how much we appreciate them,” said co-anchor Tammie Fields. “Because when the danger was occurring, they could have run the other way. But apparently they ran straight to our teams and helped.”
Luana Muñoz, a reporter for CNN affiliate WESH in Orlando, described an emotional scene after the death of her fellow journalist. Her colleagues had left the crime scene on Hialeah Street moments before the shooting, according to the station.
“This is absolutely every reporter’s worst nightmare. We go home at night afraid that something like this will happen and that is what happened here,” Muñoz said. “We have learned that a fellow reporter has been killed while covering a shooting.”
“There are members of his family here, along with his fiancée, who are incredibly distraught tonight,” Munoz said. “There are other people in the media who are cornered and in solidarity tonight when one of our own died.”
Spectrum News 13’s parent company, Charter Communications, issued a statement following the attack.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and the other lives senselessly lost today,” the statement said. “Our thoughts are with the family, friends and co-workers of our employees during this very difficult time. We remain hopeful that our other colleague who was injured makes a full recovery. This is a terrible tragedy for the Orlando community.”
In a statement, CNN called the shooting “an absolute tragedy” and noted that the organization “stands with our affiliate partner, Spectrum News 13, and will stand with them and the families of these journalists in any way we can.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierrealso issued a statement saying, “Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the injured team member in Orange County, Florida, as well as the entire Spectrum News team.”
The sheriff says the suspect has a long criminal record.
Mina said the suspect has a lengthy criminal history that includes weapons charges, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and assault with a deadly weapon.
He was arrested near the area of the shooting, Mina said.
When Moses was arrested, he was armed with a handgun, “which we believe we are also connecting to these cases,” the sheriff said.
“The suspect is not saying much right now,” Mina said.
— CNN’s Paradise Afshar, Devon Sayers and Isabel Rosales contributed to this report.