The mother of four young children who were taken hostage and killed in a standoff earlier this week in Orlando, Florida, is “shell-shocked right now,” a family friend tells PEOPLE.
Attorney Walter Benenati says the mom “is slowly coming to the realization that they are truly gone.”
Benenati says the family has yet to decide when a funeral will be held for Irayan Pluth, 12; Lillia Pluth, 10; Aidan Lindsey, 6; and 22-month-old Dove Lindsey.
The four kids were killed by 35-year-old Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr. before he fatally shot himself, authorities have said. The hostage crisis ended late Monday. Lindsey, a convicted felon on probation, is the father of the two youngest children.
So far, more than $44,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the children’s funeral.
“The support has been unbelievable,” says Benenati, who is a friend of the kids’ grandfather.
On Tuesday, Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters that the 24-hour standoff at the Westbrook Apartments on Eaglesmere Drive in West Orlando began when the children’s mother called police and reported that Lindsey had physically abused her.
Benenati alleges that she had been kicked in the head by Lindsey and ran out of the house. The children were locked in their rooms at the time, Benenati says.
He told the Orlando Sentinel, “Some may question why she ran out of that building, but nobody can know what she was going through, what horror she was feeling.”
“In fairness to her, nobody can imagine taking the life of precious young children, which is what happened here,” he continued.
When officers arrived at the apartment at 11:45 p.m. Sunday night, Lindsey — who was armed with two shotguns, two rifles and a handgun — opened fire on them, striking Officer Kevin Valencia through a door.
Valencia remains in critical condition.
Chief Mina said another officer returned fire during the initial shootout but doesn’t believe the children were hit by police bullets.
“Based on everything I have seen, it was not our bullets that killed those children,” he said.
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Lindsay barricaded himself in the second floor apartment with the four children.
According to Orlando police, SWAT teams and negotiators attempted to resolve the situation without further violence, but to no avail. More than 40 officers were on the scene, and the nearby apartments were evacuated.
Mina said police didn’t know the status of the children or where they were in the apartment during the standoff, but “there was no indication of an imminent threat” to the children.
Police decided to breach several windows of the apartment about 8:30 p.m. on Monday to better communicate with Lindsey and saw one of the children dead, Mina said.
“We made a decision to save the rest of the children and do an explosive breach on the apartment to make entry,” he said. Once inside, officers found the bodies of two children in one bedroom and the other two children in another bedroom.
All died of gunshot wounds.
Lindsey was found alone in a closet with a self-inflicted gunshot wound with a gun next to him.
Mina said it is still unclear when the children died.
“It is tragic,” Benenati previously told PEOPLE. “It is an unspeakable act. Nobody could imagine it was going to end up this way.”