Local broadcast news reporter Dylan Lyons, 24, was fatally shot on February 22, 2023, in Pine Hills, Florida, near Orlando, while covering another fatal shooting that occurred that morning, according to his employer, Spectrum News 13, news reports, and the Orange County sheriff’s office.
A 9-year-old girl, T’yonna Major, was also killed in a shooting that occurred nearby; her mother and Jesse Walden, a Spectrum News 13 photojournalist, were injured, the station reported. A 38-year-old woman, Natacha Augustin, was killed during a shooting earlier that morning.
According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant filed by the Orange County Sheriff’s office, which CPJ reviewed, the office received 911 calls reporting a shooting on Hialeah Street in Pine Hills at 4:05 p.m. and deputies arrived at the scene six minutes later, where they found two Spectrum News 13 employees who were shot.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said during a February 22 news conference that the journalists were shot “in or near their vehicle” after the gunman returned to the scene of the morning shooting and opened fire.
Mina said it was unclear if the suspect knew that Lyons and Walden were members of the media, and stated that their vehicle “does not really look like a news vehicle to [him],” but added that there was clearly a photographer there. He said it was “possible” that the suspect mistook the journalists for law enforcement officials but said that he was not able to say conclusively at that moment.
After the two reporters were shot, the affidavit said that the mother and child were shot at a home on nearby Harrington Street, which intersects with Hialeah Street.
The suspect in all three shootings, 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses, was detained at 4:30 p.m. about 0.2 miles from the scene, and deputies found pistol in his pocket that was still hot to the touch, the affidavit stated.
Mina told reporters that he believed that Moses was an acquaintance of the woman killed in the morning attack, but detectives did not believe that Moses was connected to the journalists or the mother and child.
Court documents and news reports show that Moses has been charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Lyons and attempted first-degree murder for the shooting of Walden.
Moses also faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Major and Augustin and faces attempted first-degree murder charges in the shooting of Major’s mother, Brandi, according to court documents.
According to court documents, Moses is being represented by a public defender. The public defender in an email to CPJ said they have no comment.
Lyons had worked as a broadcast reporter at Spectrum News 13 for eight months and covered stories including local crime and Hurricane Ian, according to his LinkedIn profile and professional Facebook page.
Spectrum News 13 is part of a local news network owned by the corporate broadcaster, Charter Communications.
Prior to working at Spectrum News 13, Lyons worked as a reporter and anchor at WCJB TV20 in Gainesville, Florida, according to his LinkedIn page and an obituary published by the local television station.