By Joey Roulette
ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Residents of a Florida apartment complex returned to their homes on Tuesday, hours after a man ended a daylong standoff with police by shooting an officer, killing four children and taking his own life.
The apartments were evacuated as police prepared to move in on the second-floor unit in Orlando. The 21-hour ordeal started shortly before midnight on Sunday when police responded to a domestic violence call, city police said on Twitter.
When police arrived on the scene, the suspect, Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr., 35, shot and wounded an officer before barricading himself inside an apartment where he held four children, aged 1, 6, 10 and 11, as hostages, police said.
The standoff ended at about 9 p.m. local time on Monday, when police entered the apartment and found the children and the suspect dead of gunshot wounds, Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters during a press conference.
"Our hearts go out to all of the families involved," he said.
The officer who was shot was in critical condition, Mina said.
The woman who called the police was the mother of all four of the children, and Lindsey had fathered the two youngest, Orlando police spokeswoman Michelle Guido said in an email.
Lindsey was a convicted felon on probation after pleading no contest to arson and battery charges. In the 2008 incident, Lindsey became violent during an argument with his former fiancee and set the house on fire after the woman fled.
On Tuesday morning, Miguel and Maria Lopez returned to the Orlando apartment complex after being evacuated the night before.
"I can't even sleep. I have all the images in my mind, like the police officers, the guns shooting." Maria said. "I don't feel safe here."
(Reporting by Joey Roulette in Orlando; Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Makini Brice in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Richard Chang)