A 52-year-old man ambushed and fatally shot his ex-wife and two others in Alabama on Wednesday morning before killing himself several hours later after he fled to his home in Florida, PEOPLE confirms.
AL.com reports that Kenneth Lever’s 11-year-old daughter was at the scene and witnessed the shootings, but she escaped to a neighbor’s house and avoided harm.
Authorities said Lever took his own life in Escambia County, Florida, approximately eight hours after the fatal shootings at his ex-wife’s home in Gardendale, Alabama.
Police confirmed the three victims as Dana Reeves Lever, 50, her sister Bonnie Reeves Foshee, 65, and 69-year-old Don Austin Foshee, who was Bonnie’s husband.
“He planned it. It was obvious it was a well-thought-out plan,” Gardendale police Lt. Bryan Lynch told AL.com. “He came for that reason. We don’t know if he was targeting all three or if that’s just how it happened.”
The altercation started around 8 a.m. at Dana Lever’s home. According to AL.com, the foursome, including Dana’s daughter, were getting ready to head to Chicago for her son’s graduation from Navy boot camp.
Kenneth was hiding out at a shed and as the group apparently packed up the van, he ambushed them — firing on each victim one at a time while his daughter escaped uninjured, Gardendale Police Chief Mike Walker told AL.com.
Kenneth had parked nearby and then walked to Dana’s house. After the killings, he drove one of the victim’s vehicles back to his own before fleeing the area, Walker said at a Wednesday news conference.
Kenneth’s daughter quickly identified her father as the shooter, investigators reportedly said. Multiple surrounding police departments and agencies aided in the investigation, according to Gardendale police.
According Pennsylvania court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Lever had charges pending for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor in York County, Pennsylvania. He was out on bond on those charges and was awaiting a court hearing in September.
While in police custody, the girl learned that her mother, aunt and uncle had been killed.
“We felt like we had to let her know that,” Lt. Lynch told AL.com.
“The chief and I sat her down, and the chief told her that her mom had passed away,” he said.
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Later Wednesday, an Escambia County sheriff’s deputy spotted Lever in the area in his vehicle, AL.com reports. Authorities said he then stepped out of his vehicle and fatally shot himself.
Following her father’s death, his daughter was released into the care of relatives, according to AL.com.
“She has been so traumatized,” Lynch told the site. “I don’t know that she has filtered it all thoroughly. She’s going to need a lot of support.”
Relatives were notified of the killings throughout Wednesday, AL.com reports. Foshee’s brother said he was a military veteran and remembered him as “a great guy” and “very family-oriented.”
“He would have done anything for anyone,” Gerald Foshee told AL.com. “He survived Vietnam only for him and his wife to be killed by this idiot.”