Three people have been killed and another left seriously wounded in a murder-suicide that the family of one of the victims is saying was motivated by homophobia.
An adult couple along with their daughter’s 18-year-old partner, Lauren ‘Lela’ Leslie were all killed in at a home in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, north of Hartford early on Friday morning.
The couple’s daughter who is also 18 was left with multiple gunshot wounds and rushed to hospital where she remains in critical condition following surgery.
18-year-old Lauren ‘Lela’ Leslie of Bloomfield, Connecticut was shot dead on Friday morning
Dondre Leslie embraces his partner Mercedes Gomes while Leslie’s brother Jhavier talks about their sister Lauren ‘Lela’ Leslie who was a victim in an apparent murder-suicide
‘I feel like it’s not fair she had to go through this. She just turned 18,’ brother Jhavier, right said. He is pictured with his other brother, Dondre, left
The crime scene where multiple people were killed and another seriously wounded in an apparent murder-suicide is cordoned off at a home in Windsor Locks, Connecticut on Friday
The Leslie family has confirmed that 18-year-old Lauren ‘Lela’ Leslie was among those who died in shooting along with her girlfriends parents
The shooting took place just after 1am Friday when an argument broke out, although details about what led to the shooting still remain unclear.
Police in Windsor Locks have not officially identified the victims or the relationships of those involved but Leslie’s family said they believe homophobia may have been a factor.
‘I love her and miss her dearly,’ Jhavier Leslie, Lauren’s older brother said to the Hartford Courant.
‘It’s hard to go through this new reality of not having her here, but I think this is a part of a bigger issue in society that needs to be addressed of just homophobia and the dangers around that. I’m going to miss her, I love her so much, I just can’t believe this is happening. This is just a nightmare for everybody. My mom’s literally in the hospital, she had a panic attack because it feels so unreal.’
Demisha Neil embraces her little brother, Delroy Leslie, as they listen to their brother Jhavier Leslie, talk about their sister Lela, who was a victim in an apparent murder-suicide
Police were called shortly after 1am after neighbors reported hearing gunshots.
Those first on the scene found one man and two women dead while a critically injured woman was found in another room of the house.
Police quickly determined that one of the three who died was also the assailant. A handgun was found at the scene.
‘This is stunning for all of us as well to see three people deceased in one apartment like that in Windsor Locks, that doesn’t usually happen up here, so we’re sorting through it as well,’ Lt. Paul Cherniack.
‘Right now everything is very sketchy, probably because of the hour, people just aren’t around. There’s been reports that they heard an argument just before they heard a popping sound. We have nothing to report on that address involving these parties, we don’t have a history on them at all. A very bad scene unfortunately,’ Cherniack said. ‘
The shooting happened in the early hours of Friday morning when neighbors were asleep
The young couple, Leslie and her partner, had been together for about a year but would spend little time at the home in Connecticut because they felt uncomfortable.
‘I feel like it’s not fair she had to go through this. She just turned 18,’ brother Jhavier said.
‘I am a gay man as well. I know she struggled to come to terms with herself. She spent her whole life barely talking because she was afraid of who she was and she finally gained the strength to realize who she is, so it’s very difficult for me to know that now, her being her true self and living in her reality, this is the result of that in my eyes. I feel like it wouldn’t have happened it wasn’t for that.
‘I hope there’s an investigation to see if this was rooted in hate or if this has anything to do with homophobia, but I think the ultimate message, at least for me, is that this is a part of a greater issue in our society. Especially in black communities, it’s very difficult for us. We don’t have many safe spaces, even with our family.
‘There’s a limited amount of spaces we can occupy and be comfortable,’ Jhavier continued. ‘I don’t want my sister’s death to be in vain. I hope that change does happen with homophobia and the dangers around that.’
Family members stood around outsider the home where the shooting took place in disbelief