A Florida man is accused of shooting a gay couple at a resort in the state’s most populous city on Valentine’s Day, authorities said.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that Joseph Scott Fong was arrested on charges of murder and aggravated assault with a firearm after police found a 9-year-old boy dead inside a bathtub.
Police said they found the boy, who had been shot in the head, in the bathtub with an apparent gunshot wound.
Investigators say the boy was the victim of a murder-suicide.
Sheriff’s officials told The Associated Press that the boy had been staying at a Palm Beach Beach resort with his parents and siblings and that he was the first to arrive in the morning.
The Associated, citing local media, said the boy died of “multiple gunshot wounds to the head.”
The sheriff’s office said Fong is a resident of the city of Orlando.
The boy’s father told police that the two were out on a date at a hotel bar and Fong had gone outside to see what the weather was like, the AP reported.
A man who answered the phone at the resort’s Marriott hotel, where the boy’s family was staying, told the AP that the resort had been closed and that no one was available for comment.
Orlando police spokeswoman Lt.
Kelli Foye told ABC News that the agency is aware of the incident and is in contact with authorities.
The incident is being investigated by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.
The couple was identified by friends and family as Daniel and Dana Vinson.
Daniel Vinson was a member of the Christian Coalition of Florida, an organization that has criticized gay rights and marriage equality, and Dana was a lesbian, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The organization’s Florida chapter called the killing “a hate crime” and said they would pursue all available avenues to file a civil rights lawsuit.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Daniel Visson’s father, Charles, said that his son had been with them for three years and was “happy with the relationship.”
The Associated news service quoted a family friend as saying the couple was “good friends” and that they had a “love for one another” that “could never be hurt.”
The Vinson family said they were heartbroken and asked for privacy during a news conference Monday.
The family said in a statement that they are shocked and saddened by the senseless act of violence that took place on this day and in this city.