Deputies: Lakewood Ranch man shoots and kills wife and stepdaughter, then commits suicide
MANATEE COUNTY- An argument escalated quickly at a Lakewood Ranch Home. Deputies say James Bennett shot and killed his wife and 16-year-old step-daughter, before turning the gun on himself.
“When deputies arrived they found three people deceased in the house, the daughter, and the husband,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Public Information Officer, Randy Warren.
According to deputies, an argument between the couple could have led to Bennett killing his wife, Silvana Bennett and step-daughter Andrea Barberena-Rojas.
“We don’t know exactly what that involved. Some suspect some marital issues that may have been going on,” said Warren.
Bennett’s mother, Carla Bennett heard gunshots in the home and called 911.
Deputies say Carla and three-year-old Caitlyn escaped the home unharmed but say they don’t know how or why he shot his step-daughter. Rojas was a student at Lakewood Ranch High School.
“We don’t know all of the circumstances that led up to it, there are certain family dynamics. There was a step-daughter and then they had a kid between them,” said Warren.
Although Carla and Caitlyn escaped, they are now left grieving the loss of their family.
“This is a horrible, horrible situation for this family, for any family to go through something like that. It’s a domestic issue that so many times can probably be dealt with and solved differently.”
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