Saying it's been "a murderous 12 hours or so in Orange County," Sheriff Jerry Demings addressed a triple shooting that unfolded at two hotels in the tourist district of Orlando and left two women dead.
A third woman was shot and injured in the domestic incident, according to officials, who said the gunman, identified as Michelet Polynice, was later found dead after apparently shooting himself while fleeing deputies.
Two 28-year-old women, Polynice's estranged girlfriend Carlene Pierre and Vanessa Gonzalez-Orellanes, were shot just before 8 a.m. Thursday at the Quality Suites at 7400 Canada Ave. near International Drive. Orange County sheriff's deputies said the women worked at the hotel and were behind a counter when they were shot.
The women were taken to Dr. Phillips Hospital and pronounced dead, deputies said.
Polynice then went to the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa at 10000 Turkey Lake Road, about 2.5 miles from the other hotel, and shot Pierre's 31-year-old friend, Jean Guerline, who was a housekeeper at the resort, deputies said.
Deputies located a car in Pine Hills connected to Polynice, and a brief, slow-speed pursuit ended near Powers Drive and Sunshine Street, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.
"As a deputy was approaching the suspect's car, he observed the individual with what appeared to be a handgun, saw a flash, and the car crashed into tree (and caught fire)," said Demings, who added that the 33-year-old Polynice was pronounced dead at the scene.
Demings said deputies served a domestic violence injunction Wednesday night in connection with incidents in Osceola and Orange counties. In one of the cases, Polynice tried to run over Pierre with a vehicle, Demings said.
"It does stem from a relationship gone bad," Demings said. "A child is involved, but the child is in good health."
WKMG-TV learned that Pierre had three children.
"Carlene was a very hard-working mother. She was a single mother of three," Pierre's mother told Local 6 through a friend.
Her mother said Pierre was employed at the front desk of the Quality Suites and was attending nursing school so she could provide for her young daughters.
Pierre's mother said she had serious concerns about Polynice and her daughter's relationship with him became violent over time when their 2-year-old daughter was born.
"He's very abusive, very aggressive, so she just did not want to remain in that situation," said Michaelle Desruisseaux, a friend of Pierre's.
In alluding to a "murderous 12 hours," Demings was also referring to a fatal shooting at a Chinese restaurant in Orlando during a robbery Wednesday night.
The shooting happened just before 8:30 p.m. when a masked gunman stormed into the China Wok restaurant on Silver Star Road near Pine Hills Road. Orange County deputies continue to search for the gunman.