Gainesville police find shooting suspect dead inside apartment

Police: Dispute between neighbors leads to deadly shooting

By Francine Frazier - Senior web editor
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Gainesville police say an ongoing dispute between neighbors turned deadly Wednesday when a shooter opened fire at an apartment complex, injuring two people, and then apparently turned the gun on himself.

A police officer arrived after 3 p.m. Wednesday to Spanish Trace Apartments at 3500 Windmeadows Blvd. to investigate an ongoing disturbance which apparently began over complaints of noise.

The officer began talking to some people involved on the second floor when he heard gunshots in one of the apartments on the first floor, police said.

Authorities said the officer ran down to find 21-year-old Desiree Reyes and 24-year-old Bruce Cheeves running from the apartment with gunshot wounds. Reyes was wounded in the arm and Cheeves in the chest.

Gainesville police said the officer provided armed cover for Reyes and Cheeves, and took them from the area while other officers arrived. The officer heard another gunshot as he was getting the two to safety.

The victims were taken to the area of Oaks Pawn to be treated for their wounds and then were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

It was believed that the shooter -- identified as 48-year-old Lorenzo Fitzpatrick -- went back into the apartment and was still armed with a handgun. Fitzpatrick was found dead at 6:50 p.m. with a handgun lying nearby, leading investigators to believe that Fitzpatrick turned the weapon on himself shortly after shooting Reyes and Cheeves, police said.

"Our response today was made possible by the hard work of many different individuals, all of whom played a crucial role in the safe resolution of this incident," said GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias. "We are so thankful for the generosity of area businesses that supported both our officers and the evacuated residents of this apartment complex today."

Multiple officers, including SWAT, K-9 and helicopter units helped in the search for the shooter.

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