Community steps up for children removed from home of murder-suicide


LAKELAND, Florida (WFLA) – The Lakeland community is coming together after a Christmas Eve tragedy ended with three adults dead and four children left alone.

Tuesday, Lakeland police officials said Leighton Josephs, 30, entered 3009 Atlanta Ave. and shot a man and woman. He then shot himself. Four children, all under the age of 10, were inside the home during the shooting. LPD used tactical measures and rescued all four children safely.

Although Christmas was as usual for most children on Atlanta Avenue, that wasn’t the case for the children who were inside 3009 Atlanta Avenue Tuesday night.

8 On Your Side spoke to the female victim’s uncle who said two of the four rescue children were her kids. He said they are currently with their grandparents.

Being that Christmas may never be the same for those children, people in the community like William Dunn are stepping in to help.

“It touches my hurt,” Dunn said. “I get a lot of people that give to me so I want to give back. The community really comes together on tragic stuff like this.”

Dunn helps children in need within Polk County through his organization Take a Kid Fishing. He works with local group homes, homeless shelters and families in need by taking them fishing.

“I deal with kids on an everyday basis that are in foster care and kids that are fatherless,” Dunn said. “I deal with a lot of their stories and this kind of related to some of their stories and that’s why I stepped in.”

Dunn is working with Dr. Joseph Davis, Executive Director of Anchor House, to make this all happen. Anchor House is a group home that houses boys who come from traumatic situations.

Together, Dunn and Davis are collecting toys, clothes and money. Those donations will go directly to the rescued children.

“We’re familiar with traumatic events, of course this is just horrible, but many of our boys come from those situations so we wanted to lend a helping hand,” Davis said.

People can drop off donations to Anchor House at 3000 KVille Avenue, Auburndale, FL 33823 until 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

LPD is still investigating the murder suicide.

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