LAKELAND, Fla. - People are pledging to help four young children who became orphans in an act of violence on Christmas Eve.
Police say 30-year-old Leighton Josephs shot and killed a man and woman inside a house on Atlanta Avenue. The couple's four kids were in the next room. Police say Josephs then killed himself.
Now neighbors and strangers are giving and pledging all kinds of support – to help them now, and to help them continue healing later.
Neighbor Angela Wigman says she continues to reassure her sons about their safety after she made them take cover when gunshots rang out across the street.
“I can’t imagine what those kids are going through, it breaks my heart,” Wigman said. “[I tell them] we’re safe and that we’re OK. God is protecting us. We talked a lot about that.”
Police say josephs knew his victims but they haven’t said how or why he pulled the trigger.
The incident shocked the community into action. Donations for the children left behind began to roll in.
William Dunn, founder of Take a Kid Fishing, donated poles and is promising to take the kids and their guardians on a trip to Disney when things settle down.
“I know it’s going to be a long healing process. It will probably take their mind off this for a little bit,” Dunn said.
Meanwhile, Toys for Tots made a delivery and a local church is taking up a collection. Anchor House is accepting donations for the children, as well.