murder suicide

Friends Gather to Mourn Children Killed by Father

Friends of 14-year-old Savanna and 11-year-old David Mohney mourned their deaths Saturday night.

Nearly 200 people gathered outside a Florida middle school to remember two children shot and killed by their father before he killed himself.

Friends of 14-year-old Savanna and 11-year-old David Mohney mourned their deaths Saturday night outside Creekside Middle School in Port Orange. The Mohneys' 9-year-old sister Lauren also was shot, but she survived and remained hospitalized.

The pastor of Thrive Community Church, Pete Keirstead, led the crowd of families and children, some holding candles in cups, in prayer.

"We pray for all those who have been touched by this tragedy," he said. "As Lauren is in this battle, she is not in it alone."

Among the crowd was David's football coach.

"We try to prepare them for things they will meet off of the football field," Tim Martel, New Symrna Beach Cudas Pop Warner football coach, told WESH-TV. "Obviously there's no preparation for a tragedy like this."

Mary Cook said that when her father died, Savanna never left her side.

"Even if you didn't know her and she saw you upset, she'd be there," the 13-year-old told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. She added that when her friend's death was announced at their high school Friday, "I don't think there was a dry eye at that school."

Chase Cross, 11, remembered his friend David as funny and enthusiastic.

"He was one of my first friends when I moved here," Chase said. "I liked that he was funny."

Chase's mother said David was a polite child, and she praised his mother, Cynthia Mohney.

"His mom was a good mom," Jordan Cross said. "She was a nice person and she cared a lot about her children."

Just before the shootings early Friday, Mohney went screaming to a neighbor's home and asked for help because her 52-year-old husband had threatened her with a gun during an argument, according to a 911 call.

At the Mohneys' home, deputies found Savannah and Lauren both shot in an upstairs bedroom. Their brother was in a bedroom on the ground floor. Their father was in the kitchen with a handgun next to him.

Authorities say the Mohney and her husband had a volatile relationship and were divorcing, and the father wanted to move his children to South Dakota where he planned to start work as a chiropractor. The family had lived in Florida for about four years.

Neighbor Justin King said he couldn't imagine the children's father wanting to taking their lives. The children had always seemed outgoing and energetic, just like other kids, he said.

"I know he had some aggression, but I didn't think he would go that far," King said. "He loved his children. He would always play with them."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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