Four people are dead, including a young girl, after a family member opened fire at a Thanksgiving gathering in Florida’s Palm Beach County, officials say. The suspect fled the scene.
The shooting happened shortly after 10 p.m. EST on Thursday at a residence in Jupiter, a popular beach town near the city of West Palm Beach.
Jupiter Police spokesman Scott Pascarella said seventeen people were at the home for a Thanksgiving gathering when the suspect opened fire. Four people were killed and a fifth person was injured.
The suspected gunman was identified as 35-year-old Paul Merhige. Six-year-old Makayla Sitton, the cousin of the gunman and the daughter of WPTV NewsChannel 5 photojournalist Jim Sitton, was among the deceased.
The other fatalities were identified as 76-year-old Raymonde Joseph, the aunt of the suspect, and two 33-year-old twin sisters. The twins were identified as Carla and Lisa Merhige of Miami.
The 37-year-old brother-in-law of the suspect, identified as Patrick McKnight of Miami, remained in hospital with serious injuries. “He is being treated at a hospital but is expected to survive,” Pascarella said.
Officials say the suspect is believed to be driving a four-door, blue 2007 Toyota Camry with Florida license plate W42 7JT.
Anyone who may have information about the case, or who saw the suspect or his vehicle, is asked to contact authorities.