WUFT News

Lake Butler Trying To Pull Together ‘Real Tight’ In Wake Of Third Shooting Victim Death

By and on August 27th, 2013

Flags remain at half-staff outside many businesses around Lake Butler, where a community mourns the loss of a third victim from a deadly Saturday shooting spree.

Forty-four year old David Griffis was shot in the stomach and rushed to the Shands at UF Trauma Unit on Saturday. After undergoing numerous surgeries and remaining in critical condition for three days, Griffis died of his injuries early Tuesday morning. He was the fourth to die by Hubert Allen Jr.’s gun, authorities said, including Allen himself.

Allen, 72, a former employee of Pritchett Trucking Company had written the names of his four victims in what Union County Sheriff Jerry Whitehead described as a suicide note left at his residence. Although the note mentioned the names of his intended victims, the sheriff’s department said it still has not determined a motive.

Whitehead said all the guns used have been located. He said Allen purchased them legally.

Lake Butler residents laid flowers by the sign at the entrance of Pritchett Trucking on State Road 121, where all the victims were employed.

Shortly before WUFT News was asked to leave the premises, reporters overheard a conversation between two co-workers.

A large crowd is expected at Pritchett's funeral service, which will be held 2 p.m. Friday at the First Christian Church in Lake Butler. Many businesses, including the courthouse, will be closed for a majority of the afternoon.

Amanda Jackson / WUFT News

A large crowd is expected at Pritchett's funeral service, which will be held 2 p.m. Friday at the First Christian Church in Lake Butler. Many businesses, including the courthouse, will be closed for a majority of the afternoon.

When one was asked how she was holding up, the other said, “We’re keeping things going. That’s the way he would have wanted” (an apparent reference to the deceased owner of the company, Marvin Pritchett).

Whitehead said the community is really coming together during this difficult time.

“We pull together through our schools and our church, that’s what we are,” he said.

This town isn’t a stranger to tragedy. In 2006, a truck/bus crash left seven children dead and several more seriously injured.

“Learning how to grieve is just something you have to go through. It can’t be taught,” Whitehead said. “My father told me many, many years ago that in these situations you have to get up, put your boots on, tie them real tight and go to work.”

In Lake Butler, it seems almost everyone has a family connection. Coincidentally, Whitehead’s own mother passed away just two weeks ago. His mother was the sister of Pritchett’s widow.


This entry was posted in Crime. Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Crime

ufpd

Police Collecting DNA Samples in Relation to Recent Attacks

The University of Florida Police Department and the Gainesville Police Department are targeting individuals for DNA samples that vaguely fit the suspect’s description from the three attacks that occurred on or near UF’s campus.


Elementary-age children attend the vigil held for their classmates Sunday night. Sarah Spirit and her six children were victims of a mass shooting last Thursday, Sept. 18.

Bell Residents Hold Vigil In Honor Of Slain Family

In the small town of Bell, family and friends gathered at a candlelight vigil to honor the lives of Sarah Spirit, 28, and her six children. Police said last Thursday, Don Spirit shot and killed his daughter and six grandchildren before turning the gun on himself.


Bell, Fla., residents light candles in support of the slain family. Friends, family and members of the community stand in silence while paying respects.

Pictures: Bell Residents Hold Vigil In Memory Of Slain Family


Gov. Rick Scott addressing media in Bell, Fla.

Bell Residents Express Sadness, Shock in Wake of Shooting

Bell residents wake up to tragedy in wake of shooting. Don Spirit, 51, killed his daughter, six grandchildren and himself on Thursday around 4 p.m.


Don Charles Spirit, 51, shot and killed his daughter and her six children. He then committed suicide.

Bell Shooter Don Spirit: An Extensive Criminal History

Before Don Spirit shot and killed his daughter, six children and himself on Sept. 18, he acquired an extensive criminal background. Spirit’s prior crimes occurred in several counties in Florida.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments