VCSO: Port Orange father guns down his 3 kids then kills himself after wife runs next door

Two eldest kids dead; third clinging to life in hospital

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Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson, shown below, holds a mid-morning press conference Friday outside the Port Orange-area home where David Mohney, 52, shot his three children before killing himself. Only the youngest of the three children survived the carnage.

PORT ORANGE, Fla. -- A domestic quarrel between a married couple on the verge of divorce ended in bloodshed before dawn today in the Spruce Creek Farms subdivision.

The wife ran from the residence -- surely not fathoming that her her husband -- and father of their three sleeping children would do the unthinkable, even with gun in hand.

But 52-year-old David Mohney did just that -- with execution-style precision against all three, killing two of them instantly while the third escaped the intended fate -- clinging to life after emergency transport to the hospital. The father, believing all three were dead, shot and killed himself before the authorities arrived within minutes of the gunfire.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the scene, 1927 Jackson Lane, just west of the Port Orange city limits, after receiving a 9-1-1 call at 5:11 a.m. about a domestic argument between the couple.

The wife, Cynthia Mohney, ran to the neighbor’s house, telling the neighbor she and her husband, David Mohney, had been arguing when he threatened her with a gun.

Then shots rang out in the suburban community five miles south of Daytona Beach. This was followed by the screams of the anguished mother, who had run to a neighbor's housed, telling the neighbor she and her estranged husband had been ruing when he threatened her with a gun.

Responding deputies found a grisly scene inside -- Mohney was discovered shot in the kitchen, apparently by his own hand, a gun by his side. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

Also found on the first floor in a bedroom was his dead son and the middle child, David Mohney, 11. In an upstairs bedroom, deputies found the gunman's two daughters.

Savanna Mohney, 14, was dead, but her 9-year-old sister, Lauren Mohney, was alive, though her situation was critical. She was flown to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando where she remains in extremely critical condition.

Sheriff Benjoihnson in Port Orange, Fla., at scene of murder-suicide / Headline Surfer®A usually stoic Sheriff Ben Johnson was visibly shaken, but didn't mince words when he told reporters at the scene, he was disturbed that the father would kill his own flesh and blood: 'If he wants to commit suicide let him commit suicide! But to shoot his children, that is cowardly!"

Johnson addressed the media, saying, "If he wants to commit suicide let him commit suicide, but to shoot his children, that is cowardly."

"I woke up to the screams of, 'Oh my God, oh my God, this isn't happening here. This isn't happening,'" said the neighbor, who spoke on condition she remained unidentified.

The neighbor said just after 5 a.m. Friday she awoke to the screams.

The couple had recently been going through a divorce that had yet to be finalized, the neighbor said.

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At left are Facebook images of the two siblings gunned down in cold blood by their father, 14-year-old Savannah Mohney, and 11-year-old David Mohney.
Because of the tragic circumstances, school officials sent out an automated recording via phone to parents of the schools the three children attended, alerting them to the situation and informing them that grief counselors were available for any children in need. 

The recording stated: "Good Afternoon Parents, I’m calling from Volusia County Schools. We wanted to make you aware that we received information from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department that a tragedy, involving three of our students, occurred off campus this morning. The students are enrolled at Cypress Creek Elementary, Creekside Middle and Spruce Creek High."

The message ended with, "As we learn more information, we will share that information with you. Crisis teams are at each of the schools today and will be there again on Tuesday to assist students in dealing with this tragic situation."

There is no school Monday because it is a teacher duty day.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.