A community has been left reeling after a grandfather shot dead his six grandchildren and also killed his daughter Sarah.

Don Spirit was 51

Don Spirit was 51

According to USA Today, the gunman, 51 year-old Don Spirit, had rang the emergency services and made the shocking revelation that he was thinking about harming himself and other people.

Police went to his house in Florida yesterday, arriving there at about 4pm. They were able to open a dialogue with Spirit, but were unable to persuade him to give himself up. Then shots were heard and the police entered the property to discover that Spirit had killed himself with his gun.

They were shocked to discover more bodies of his six grandchildren, the youngest of which, was only three months old, as well as his daughter, Sarah. The children killed were Kaleb, 11, Kylie, 9, Jonathan, 8, Destiny, 5, Brandon, 4 and Alana who would have been 12 weeks old tomorrow.

The local sheriff, Robert Schultz, said that locals were struggling to comprehend the tragedy: “I haven’t handled something like this at all. And to say this community is not going to be devastated by this … for a small county, we’re all family here. There’s certain things in life you can explain, there’s some things you can’t. This is something you can’t explain.”

Sheriff Robert Schultz says the community is "devastated"

Sheriff Robert Schultz says the community is “devastated”

Local media is reporting that Spirit served three years in prison a over decade ago after he accidentally shot dead his eight year-old son Kyle in 2001. Kyle was killed in a hunting accident and Spirit pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.