ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The heartbroken family of an Orange County mother who was one of two women killed, and another woman injured, by her estranged boyfriend during a shooting spree told WFTV her life could have been saved.
Deputies said 33-year-old Michelet Polynice's shooting spree started before 9 a.m. Thursday and swept through two hotels near International Drive before ending in a fiery crash in Pine Hills.
Investigators said the shootings were related to a history of domestic violence. WFTV learned Polynice had just been served a domestic violence injunction Wednesday night, filed by his ex-girlfriend, 28-year-old Carlene Pierre, in Osceola County earlier this month. (Read Injunction: Doc 1 | Doc 2)
WFTV talked to Pierre's family Thursday night. They said Pierre did everything law enforcement suggested in order to stay safe from Polynice -- including changing locks, calling the Department of Children and Families, and filing the injunction -- and now they're questioning if the system even works. (Raw Video: Watch interview with family)
"We had faith in the system. We were like the system will protect the woman, because that's what they always say," said Pierre's sister Judith Delchere.
Pierre was explicit when she warned police about her ex-boyfriend's violent behavior in the 25-page injunction. In the injunction, Pierre said to police, "He told me the only way he is going to leave me alone is by killing me. I am very afraid for my life."
Pierre filed the injunction after Orange County Sheriff's Office said Polynice tried to run her over at her work.
Deputies said it appears Polynice specifically went to the Quality Suites on Canada Avenue near International Drive looking for Pierre. He opened fire, killing her and her female co-worker, 28-year-old Vanessa Gonzalez-Orellanes.
Both of the women were found behind the check-in counter with gunshot wounds to the chest and head, investigators said.
But deputies said Polynice didn't stop with them. They said leaving Quality Suites, it appears he went directly to the Westgate Lakes Resort a few miles down the road on Turkey Lake, where he shot another woman, 31-year-old Jean Guerline. Deputies said Guerline was a friend of Pierre's.
Deputies initially said Guerline had died, but later announced that she had survived. She is currently in the hospital, her condition unknown.
After he left the Westgate Resort, deputies, who had started heading toward Polynice's last known address, spotted him just before he took his own life and crashed his car into a tree along Powers Drive.
"(He) put something right to his temple. There appeared to be a muzzle flash, and shortly thereafter he crashed," said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
Skywitness 9HD was over the crash scene on Powers Drive and Sunshine Street, where Polynice's Camry was on fire with Polynice inside the car. (See raw video)
When Delchere was told her sister was shot at work, she said she knew right away who to blame.
"The only thing I knew is that Michelet did something to my sister again," she said. "The evilness in him, he hid it too well at the beginning."
Delchere said it wasn't until Pierre was pregnant with Polynice's child two years ago when she started to witness the violence.
"Today they came to me, my mom, and my family was like 'We're sorry about your loss.' No. I'm going to say that again, I don't want to hear your 'I'm sorry.' If you did your job, you wouldn't be sorry," said Delchere.
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said injunctions are necessary because they give law enforcement the ability to arrest someone if he or she violates it, but they will never be full-proof.
"The system did not fail the victims in this case. How do you stop a madman with a gun who has an intent to harm you?" Sheaffer said.
Pierre leaves behind three daughters, ages 8, 6, and 2. Two of which she shared with Polynice. Pierre's family is setting up a fund for the children and plans to have a service at their church in Poinciana sometime next week.
Polynice's father, Michael Polynice, told WFTV's Tim Barber his son was a violent and dangerous man who should have been behind bars.
Michael Polynice said Michelet Polynice tried to kill him. He said two months ago, Polynice came by his Orlando home to ask for money. He said when his son did not find it, he turned violent and threatened to kill him.
By the time deputies arrived, Michelet Polynice was gone.
"They should have arrested him that day," said Michael. "I said, 'You need to arrest him. He just left my house.' He said, 'Well I don't see him with no gun.'"
"You tried to get a restraining order against your own son?" Barber asked.
"Yeah. Because I don't want him to come to my house cause he is a dangerous guy," said Michael Polynice. "If the police do his job, he would be in jail already, before he killed the people."
WFTV checked with the Sheriff's Office, which said they could only confirm that a call was made from Polynice's house on that day in July. Since then, he has tried to get a restraining order against Polynice.
Michael Polynice said he's not sad his son is gone, but said his heart goes out to the innocent women, who he said should have never been shot.
WFTV found out Polynice’s arrests stretch back to 2001. He's been charged with aggravated battery, aggravated assault, domestic violence, and was arrested on stalking charges three times.
Polynice used to have a weapon’s permit normally assigned to security officers, but it expired in 2000.
Counting Thursday's deaths, there have been five homicides in Orange County so far this year, compared to four at this time last year. But Demings said all of the slayings this year have been related to domestic violence. And to date, deputies have served more than 4,000 court injunctions across the county related to domestic violence.
The domestic violence shelter Harbor House is adamant about filing injunctions. The group helped women with about 4,000 injunctions in Orange County alone last year, but admit some abusers become unpredictable.
"The likelihood that that person is not going to care about consequences anymore, which means an injunction means nothing then you are in real danger," said Carol Wick, CEO of Harbor House.
The sheriff's office is also adamant about women filing injunctions against their abusers, but experts say in addition to filing injunctions, abuse survivors need to have a safety plan in place to protect themselves and their families at home, at work and while out in public.