Gunman kills four young children after shooting police officer in face at flat

A gunman shot a police officer in the face before killing four children and turning the gun on himself.

Gary Wayne Lindsey Jnr, 35, held his victims hostage for 21 hours in Orlando, Florida.

The incident began when his girlfriend called police at 11:45pm local time on Sunday to report claims he had beaten her.

After officers attended the couple’s home, Lindsey shot at a cop and barricaded himself inside the flat with the four children.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said officers entered the apartment at 9pm on Monday and found all the children and Lindsey were dead.

Two of the victims were believed to be Lindsey’s children and two his girlfriend’s.

The officer shot was identified as Kevin Valencia, who has been with the Orlando Police Department since 2016.

He remains in a critical condition after surgery on Monday morning.

"We have no idea when those poor children lost their lives, that will all be part of the investigation," Mina said.

"Our hearts go out to the family of those four children. A long day like this is physically and emotionally draining."

Lindsey had a history of mental illness and violent behaviour.

His extensive criminal history involved arrests relating to arson, battery, shoplifting and domestic violence.

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