KISSIMMEE, Fla. - An Osceola County father has bonded out of jail after admitting to investigators he knew his teenage son was behind at least one shooting in a terrifying crime spree that left two people dead.
Kissimmee police detectives said Lothar Schafer was arrested Tuesday in Polk County after turning himself into authorities.
Schafer purchased a .45-caliber Hi Point carbine rifle for his 15-year-old son, Konrad, police said. The Osceola County man didn't participate in the string of shootings that terrorized Osceola County over the summer, but police said they believe the father knew about it and said nothing.
"We learned that Mr. Schafer, Lothar, became aware of the fact that the gun was used in at least one shooting [and] failed to contact police," Kissimmee Police Department Chief Lee Massie said Tuesday.
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said investigators wanted to make sure the charges stick, which is why it took so long to arrest Lothar Schafer.
Kissimmee police and prosecutors said they spent the last couple weeks interviewing witnesses and weighing the evidence to see if they could charge the 57-year-old because he bought the murder weapon that his son picked out and then failed to keep it out of his son's hands.
"The right to purchase a firearm is one thing, but you also have the right to make sure it's secure," said Massie.
Police said they believe Lothar Schafer knew about one of the shootings and then tried to secure the gun, but his son and his friends were still able to take it and carry out more shootings.
When the father found out there was a warrant for his arrest he turned himself into deputies on Tuesday.
"Since there was a death in this case, you can bet that the state and the court is going to be looking for a harsher punishment than might otherwise have been sought," said Sheaffer.
The rifle was used in multiple shooting incidents in Osceola County during the months of June and July, including in the shooting death of 17-year-old David Guerrero, police said.
Konrad Schafer and David Damus, 20, were charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Guerrero and Eric Roopnarine, 22.
"The son was actually with the father when the father purchased the firearm, actually picked out the type of firearm he wanted his father to buy," Massie said.
Investigators said they were involved in more than 20 other random shootings that spanned two weeks.
Police said Konrad Schafer used it to kill Guerrero and to riddle Osceola County homes with bullets.
Juan Sebastian Muriel, 20, and Victoria Rios, 17, were also arrested in connection with Roopnarine's death, officers said.
Kissimmee police detectives said Lothar Schafer is charged with culpable negligence and allowing unlawful possession of a firearm.