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This story contains mention of domestic violence. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233.
SPRING HILL — Nancy MacAlpine arrived home after an overnight shift Friday morning to find her next-door neighbor, a young woman, crying and yelling outside.
MacAlpine couldn’t tell what had happened, she said, but she knew it might be bad — loud arguments had erupted several times in the past week from that house at 9474 Dunkirk Road. Then, as she moved to call 911, she said she heard what the woman was saying: “He shot my kids.”
Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene soon after the 10:10 a.m. call, as did Fire Rescue crews — a fire was burning in one of the bedrooms, a fire rescue division chief later said. When the smoke cleared and deputies could search the house, Sheriff Al Nienhuis said they found a horrible scene: One adult, one young teenager and one pre-teen were dead.
Nienhuis said in a press conference Friday afternoon that the incident had “some domestic violence-type overtones.” An investigation is ongoing and could last “days, weeks or months,” Nienhuis said.
The dead have not been identified, and Nienhuis did not give a cause of death. Deputies could not immediately confirm whether a shooting had taken place. They said the surviving woman had been taken away from the scene for an interview.
MacAlpine, the next-door neighbor who called 911, said she didn’t know the family who lived there well. She occasionally saw a man and a girl around the house, and a week ago she dropped off a box of Lysol wipes — a belated welcome gift, she said, as the family had moved in less than a year ago.
In recent days, MacAlpine said, the neighbors had argued so loudly that she and others on the block could hear. Still, she said the quiet neighborhood was shocked by the apparent crime Friday morning. She felt she was still in shock early Friday afternoon, she said, and she couldn’t stop thinking about the distraught woman outside.
“Who would think you’d come home one morning and find this happened?” she said.