A gunman shot three Polk State College students on Tuesday after he allegedly got a "dark feeling," killing two of the students in front of his 6-year-old daughter.
One victim, Esteban Zavala, 19, survived the shooting in serious but stable condition, but two other victims, students Joe S. Palacios and Christian Rodriguez, both 19, died. The suspect, Joshua Davis, 32, has reportedly confessed to the crime and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and one count of child abuse.
According to police, Davis invited the Polk State College victims, who were apparently coworkers of his at a local McDonalds, over to his apartment where they allegedly smoked marijuana. After Davis let his 6-year-old daughter into his living room, he got what he characterized as a "dark feeling" when the boys said something to each other in Spanish while looking at his daughter. That's when Davis got his 9 mm hand gun from his bedroom and fired at Palacios and Rodriguez at close range. Zavala was shot several times but escaped the apartment.
"Everyone associated with this great institution felt as though we had been punched in the gut, that our hearts have been ripped out," Polk State College President Eileen Holden said during a Wednesday briefing on campus about the crime.
She characterized the students as "popular" and "successful."