A crazed gunman caused panic in a small Florida town after he shot his ex-wife, girlfriend, and her father dead. The tragedy occurred on the morning of May 3 in Green Cove Springs, just over 30 miles south of Jacksonville.
The victims have been named as Valorie Short, Waylon “Buddy” Short and Erica Green, Lancaster’s ex-wife.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lancaster Was the Nephew of Former Clay County Sheriff Scott Lancaster
Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler told the media that officers believe that Lancaster abducted his girlfriend Valorie Short from her job at a nail salon in Green Cove Springs at around 9:45 a.m., according to First Coast News.
One witness to Short’s kidnapping, James Thigpen, told News4Jax:
He came in and pulled a gun. He dragged her out and put her in his truck. He sped off and said he was going to go to her dad’s and that’s when he shot both of them.
She was real nice. I didn’t know her very well, but she was nice. She always got along with everybody.
He added that prior to putting her in his car, Lancaster banged Short’s head against his truck.
Beseler says that Lancaster took Short to an area close to the Magnolia Golf Course in the town. He then ran into her father, Waylon Short, in the area. When there, Beseler said Lancaster shot them both dead. He then drove to Rosemary Hill Road in Green Cove Springs, there, Beseler said he killed his ex-wife Erica Green. First Coast News reports that Green was working at a landfill when she died.
WJXT reporter Vic Micolucci tweeted that Lancaster was the nephew of former Clay County Sheriff Scott Lancaster.
2. Lancaster ‘Went to His Kids’ School to Say Goodbye’
Action News Jacksonville reporter Paige Kelton said that Lancaster went to his kids’ school to “say goodbye.” Authorities say that he was refused access. He then returned to his trailer home where he shot himself dead.
Meanwhile, First Coast News reporter Katie Jeffries tweeted that Lancaster’s former employer, Georgia Pacific, in the town of Palatka was on lockdown after he allegedly made threats against the company. Lancaster was fired a week before the Green Cove Springs shootings.
Photos on Lancaster’s Facebook page show him with two children. He’s a native of Green Cove Springs and graduated from Clay High School in 1993. News4Jax reports that Lancaster was married twice before he wed Erica Green. The station says both of those marriages lasted for less than a year and his former mother-in-law said he was not a violent man. The woman told News4Jax that the marriage ended amicably because they were too young.
3. According to Her Facebook Page, Erica Green Is in a New Relationship
According to her Facebook page, Erica Green, who still uses the name Lancaster on the site, is now in a relationship with a man named Travis Wickman. She is survived by her three children.
Valorie Short worked at the Keeping It Classy Hair & Nail Salon in Green Cove Springs, according to her Facebook page. She’s a native of the town. First Coast News reporter Brittany Dione tweeted that Short is survived by ther two sons, ages 9 and 7.
Her friend, Brittany Burnley, paid tribute to Valorie Short saying, “She was beautiful inside and out. She was a great friend to have. She was always there for people, you know. She loved her family…She was a really great mom.”
News4Jax reports that one of the victims was pregnant.
4. Lancaster Had Recently Been Arrested on a Violence Charge
Online records show that Lancaster was arrested on March 17 on charges of resisting an officer and simple battery. As a result of the incident, the Florida Times-Union reports that Valorie Short had taken out a restraining order against Lancaster.
News4Jax reports that Lancaster had been fighting in the street with another man when he was arrested. He posted bail and was due to appear in court on May 3 at 2:30 p.m. One of Valorie Short’s friends told station that since then her friend had a restraining order against him. The friend, Brittany Burnley said, “They were in a relationship and then they broke up, then things got crazy. It was an ongoing court thing.”
5. Schools in Green Cove Springs Were Locked Down as the Search for Lancaster Continues
Authorities told the public not to approach Lancaster if they encountered him. He was considered armed-and-dangerous. Jacksonville.com reported that he was seen traveling in a pickup truck.
First Coast News reported that public schools in Clay County were locked down as the search for Lancaster went on.
Shelby Danielsen, a reporter with First Coast News, tweeted that schools in the area around the nearby town of Palatka are also locked down after a woman was shot in the face there. That shooting later proved to be unrelated.