By Amy Pavuk, Arelis R. Hernandez and Bianca Prieto, Orlando Sentinel –
CASSELBERRY, Fla. — Bradford Baumet stormed into a salon in the Central Florida town of Casselberry on Thursday, shot his estranged girlfriend, killed three other women, and soon after turned the gun on himself — just hours before he was expected in court to defend himself at an injunction hearing.
The slayings are the latest in an onslaught of recent domestic-violence related murders and suicides in Central Florida. Thursday’s mass shooting was the second time in three weeks that men hunted down their former girlfriends at work and shot multiple people, then killed themselves.
Marcia Santiago and Eugenia “Mari” Marte, friends who managed and owned the Las Dominicanas M & M Salon, feared Baumet would kill them. Each sought and obtained temporary injunctions against the 36-year-old.
But Baumet armed himself with a stolen gun late Thursday morning and went to the salon.
Casselberry Police said 44-year-old Santiago, Baumet’s ex-girlfriend, was critically injured. Marte’s family said she was killed, though police had not confirmed her death late Thursday.
Authorities confirmed Baumet fatally shot salon employee Noelia Gonzalez-Brito of Kissimmee, and customer Gladys Cabrera, 52, of Orlando.
As news of the slayings spread throughout the day, dozens of the victims’ friends and relatives gathered outside the hair salon.
“Mi nina, mi nina,” screamed Marte’s mother, Josefa Herrera. “She was my only girl. If God had been the one to take her, I could accept it, but no!”
Herrera told the Orlando Sentinel she warned Santiago and 45-year-old Marte they needed to be cautious with Baumet, because he would harm them.
Guillermo Agramonte, whose girlfriend, Gonzalez-Brito worked at the salon, paced around the parking lot trying to call her. But the 28-year-old, who was five months’ pregnant, did not answer.
Agramonte gave police a description of her tattoos, and officers confirmed Gonzalez was one of those killed.
At 11:04 a.m. EDT Thursday, Casselberry police received a 911 call about the shootings. Several women inside the salon escaped the bullets — one hid in a bathroom and another ran out the back door, officials said.
Juan Diaz was inside the Metro PCS store next to the hair salon when he and customers heard four gunshots, then saw the gunman leave the salon.
“We saw the guy with the gun in his hand … coming this way … on foot with the gun in his hand,” Diaz said. “When we realized the guy was gone … we went in the hair salon.
“And once we were in the hair salon we just saw a bunch of dead bodies,” Diaz said.
After the shooting rampage, Baumet went to a friend’s home nearby, said Seminole County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Smith. Baumet told his friends he had “some problems.”
Then he shot and killed himself.
Records show Baumet had a long criminal history — with dozens of arrests in Florida and Rhode Island — for charges including stalking, trespassing, burglary and making obscene phone calls.
He was in police custody as recently as Sunday, when he was booked into the Orange County Jail on a charge of driving with a suspended license. He pleaded no contest the following day and was sentenced to time served and a fine.
Records show that in 2004, Baumet was arrested on charges of stalking and burglary. He pleaded no contest, was jailed briefly then placed on probation for two years.
Also that year, a woman filed a domestic violence injunction against Baumet in Broward County. She filed a child support claim two years later. Details from the injunction were not available Thursday. When reached by phone, the woman declined to comment.
Orange County court records show that on Oct. 5, Baumet drove to the Casselberry salon, banged on the locked, glass door, and threatened to kill the women inside.
Within days, Marte and Santiago each sought and obtained temporary injunctions against Baumet, who was living with Santiago in Orlando at the time.
“I am scared and feel my life is in danger,” Santiago wrote in her injunction application. She also described previous incidents, where Baumet grabbed her arms, shook, and threatened to kill her.
“I got away and ran away to my job,” she wrote. “I did not file right away because Brafort (sic) threatened me that if I file an injunction that he will kill me. I got scared.”
Santiago and Baumet were to appear at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday afternoon for a hearing at which a judge would decide whether to make the temporary injunction permanent.
On Thursday afternoon, two distraught women who identified themselves as Baumet’s cousin and aunt, told the Orlando Sentinel he had been acting erratic lately.
“My cousin, he’s been having problems,” said one of the women, adding she had suggested that Santiago seek a restraining order. “He’s mentally not there.”