ORLANDO — A disgruntled former employee returned to a local RV accessory business Monday and fatally shot five people before killing himself, another horror in a city still healing from a bloody mass murder at a nightclub less than one year ago.
John Robert Neumann Jr, 45, who had been fired in April, entered the Fiamma Inc. building at about 8 a.m. ET and opened fire, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. A 911 call came in at 8:03 and officers were on the scene two minutes later, Demings said.
Four of the victims, three men and a woman, were found dead at the scene, the sheriff said. Another man died a short time later at a hospital. The body of Neumann, an Army veteran discharged in 1999, was also found at the scene.
“He shot five innocent people this morning then turned the gun on himself,” Demings said. “We have no indication that this person is a participant in any type of terror organization.”
Demings said Neumann had previously been accused of assaulting a co-worker but not charged. The victim in that case was not among the victims Monday, he said. Otherwise, Neumann had few prior contacts with police, Demings said.
Eight people in the building survived the rampage, including one woman who said Neumann told her to leave, and were providing details of the shootings, Demings said.
Next Monday will mark one year since the Pulse nightclub massacre, when a lone gunman shot 49 people to death and wounded 53 others before he was killed by police. It was the deadliest mass murder by a single killer in U.S. history. Demings was also a key player in the early stages of that investigation.
“It’s a sad day for us once again in Orange County,” Demings said during a morning news conference. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims.”
Shelley Adams told WFTV that her sister, Sheila McIntyre, called her from inside the building during the shooting. Adams said McIntyre was in a bathroom when she came out and saw someone down on the floor.
Chris Schilling owns HD Quikprint near Fiamma and noticed a few sheriff’s cruisers in the parking lot. She walked outside to investigate — and witnessed a rush of police and fire vehicles zoom past.
“It’s kind of shocking when it happens in your neighborhood,” Schilling said.
Luis Gonzalez owns Esperanza Shoe Repair, directly across the street from Fiamma. He said he was startled to see a frightened woman running across the Fiamma parking lot while talking on her phone — and shortly afterward, law enforcement officers swarmed the scene.
“It’s sad. It’s surprising, because this is a good neighborhood,” Gonzalez said.
Shortly after the rampage, the sheriff’s office tweeted that it was investigating a “multiple fatality” shooting at a business headquarters in Orlando, adding “situation contained.”
“Now investigating tragic incident & will soon have accurate information,” the department tweeted.
The shooting was being handled locally as workplace violence and had no apparent link to terrorism, an FBI official who was briefed on the matter told USA TODAY. The official requested anonymity because the agency was not leading the investigation.
Streets in an industrial area of the city where the shooting occurred were closed, and patrol cars, officers and police dogs swarmed the scene.
Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement saying he was briefed by law enforcement “on this tragic incident.”
“Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before,” Scott said. “Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence.”
Bacon reported from McLean, Va. Contributing: Kevin Johnson