NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A 5-year-old girl called 911 on Monday after waking to gunshots and finding her dead mother and dying father in bed.
Police say a gunman seeking revenge for drug charges snuck into the family's Florida home and opened fire; he then killed himself in his home later that day.
The child, Tia Hernlen, described the traumatic scene to the operator: “My mommy and daddy … I think there is a bullet on the floor... and there is blood coming out of my dad's mouth and he fell off the bed.”
Aeneas Hernlen, 29, died at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. His wife, Julie Hernlen, 31, was dead at the scene.
Authorities said David Edward Johnson (search) targeted the couple after being arrested for possession of marijuana and steroids; he thought the couple had turned him in.
The couple apparently feared the suspect and tried to get a court-ordered injunction to keep him away from their family. However, a judge denied the request on account that there was not enough evidence to support the stalking charge.
The judge, in denying the case, said "no violence was alleged and it was hard to prove stalking with the allegations" presented, according to court papers.
"Looking back on it, I would have liked to have done it differently," Circuit Judge Richard Graham (search) said. "But you review each case on a case-by-case basis."
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