Overwhelmed by grief and the news that two of her loved ones were dead, LaToya Jackson went to her cousin’s apartment on Monday morning to place flowers in the ground outside.
It had been only hours since Jackson learned that two of her cousins, Qulera Allen, 29, and her sister, Kernishion Charleston, 37, had been shot to death outside Allen’s apartment in the Mission Hills complex.
“I just came to sit for a while just to give myself some closure,” Jackson said. “They were great people, lovable and kind.”
The horrific incident began to unfold shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday ― and ended later with the gunman shooting himself live on Facebook. Officers with the Tallahassee Police Department arrived at the apartment complex, located at 2425 Mission Road, and found Allen, a mother of three, on a sidewalk and Charleston in the front yard.
TPD issued a news release Tuesday confirming the shooting and the suicide of the gunman but releasing few other details, including the names of the victims. According to Gadsden County court records, Brown was the father of one of Allen's children.
"The investigation revealed the victims were known to each other and this was not a random act of violence," said TPD spokeswoman Alicia Hill. "At this time, it is believed that all parties have been identified."
Officers attempted life-saving measures, TPD said, but both Allen and Charleston died at the scene. The suspect, meanwhile, had raced away in his truck and made his way onto the interstate.
"Officers were able to quickly identify a suspect, 40-year-old Antirio Brown, and the vehicle he was traveling in," TPD said.
Brown made it to the Lake City area before the Florida Highway Patrol spotted his truck on Interstate 75 and began pursuing him into the Gainesville area. Alachua County deputies rammed his vehicle and deployed tire-flattening devices to stop his truck on the side of the interstate.
In the last moments of his life, as police were closing in, Brown went live on Facebook to announce that he was going to kill himself before he could be taken into custody.
“It’s over,” Brown said as he held a revolver in his hand. “It’s over. If you all don’t want to see me kill myself online, I suggest you all log off ... because that’s what’s going to happen.”
Witnesses describe panic, parents grabbing kids after shooting
Before Allen and Charleston were killed, residents at Mission Hills were enjoying a Sunday afternoon with their children and families.
Bree President, who lives a few doors down from Allen, said numerous kids were playing outside. Allen’s two little girls and a little boy were home at the time.
President just happened to step outside her apartment when she saw Brown pull up in his pickup truck, get out and approach Allen’s apartment.
“When he walked up toward the house, I started hearing gunshots,” President said. “And that’s when the oldest little girl ran outside screaming that he had just killed her mama and the sister.”
She said a neighbor told the little girl to come inside their place while other panicked parents tried to get their children to safety. Jada Brown, who lives next to Allen, said she got her two toddlers inside while her grandfather, who was visiting, ran to help the victims.
Jada Brown said her grandfather was with one of the women when they took their last breath. When he went to comfort the other, she was already apparently dead.
“I can’t explain it,” Jada Brown said. “Something like this — you know it goes on. But it happens so fast.”
It was at least the 49th serious shooting incident in Tallahassee and Leon County this year and the second double-homicide in a month. So far this year, 11 people have been killed and 39 injured, according to a Tallahassee Democrat analysis of gun violence. Eight of the fatalities happened over the last two months.
The shooting was the eighth this month and the third incident of the weekend. Three people were injured Saturday morning in a shooting outside Pockets Pool & Pub. Another happened Friday night at Florida A&M University's Rattler Pointe apartments, though no one was injured.
Residents of Mission Hills said it appeared that Allen was moving out and putting her belongings in her sister's car when Brown arrived. President said she'd seen Brown come to the complex before on multiple occasions.
Brown, who owned an auto repair business and also went by the name Antonio Brown, had no recent arrests, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records. He was arrested in 2000 in Tallahassee for carrying a concealed weapon and ordered to forfeit his firearm after pleading no contest. He also pleaded no contest after a 2001 arrest for petty theft.
Last year, the Florida Department of Revenue initiated child support proceeding against Brown, who was listed in records as a non-custodial parent of one of Allen's children. The state closed the case in April at Allen's request, according to court records.
Check back with Tallahassee.com for more on this breaking news story.
Contact Jeff Burlew at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @JeffBurlew on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Florida man killed ex-girlfriend, her sister before Facebook Live suicide