Police: Man kills girlfriend, 2 others, himself in Florida

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The nephew of a former county sheriff fatally shot his estranged girlfriend and two others in Florida on Tuesday before turning the gun on himself, police said.

A SWAT team found the body of Murray Lancaster, 41, in a camper trailer on his family’s land near Green Cove Springs on Tuesday afternoon, hours after police discovered the bodies of Lancaster’s girlfriend Valorie Short, her father, Welland “Buddy” Short, and Lancaster’s ex-wife Erica Green, said Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler.

Beseler said Lancaster is the nephew of former Clay County Sheriff Scott Lancaster and son of former county commissioner Larry Lancaster, and news of the killings has hit the community hard. He said the Short family also has ties to the sheriff’s office, but did not elaborate.

“These are people we know, people we care about, and it makes it more difficult to have to deal with,” Beseler said.

The sheriff’s office also is waiting for autopsy results on Green to determine if she was pregnant, as some who knew her have told authorities, sheriff department spokeswoman Mary Justino said in an email. Both Green and Short had two children each, Justino said, but authorities weren’t sure if any were fathered by Lancaster.

Murray Lancaster was involved in a previous domestic violence arrest involving Valorie Short, who took out a restraining order against him, court records show. The records also show that he was arrested in March for battery and resisting an officer after he and Buddy Short had a confrontation.

Lancaster appeared with a gun Tuesday at the Keeping It Classy hair salon where Valorie Short worked, police said.

He abducted her and went to meet with her father at the Magnolia Country Club, Green Cove Springs Police Chief Robert Musco said. Both were found fatally shot at the club. Police say Lancaster next went to a landfill where his ex-wife worked and fatally shot her.

In the March incident, Valorie Short told police that Lancaster got angry because she had refused to give him his car keys when he was drunk, according to court records.

“She stated he had been drinking alcohol all day and became very violent,” the police report stated. “She stated … he grabbed her wrist and shoved her aggressively against the basketball hoop pole.”

The sheriff’s office said Lancaster had been fired from his job at a paper mill recently, and it was locked down along with four area schools while authorities searched for him. Streets were also closed off during the search.

Green Cove Springs is located about 35 miles south of Jacksonville.

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