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Triple shooting rocks Lake City community

Man accused of killing wife, 14-year-old son, shooting 17-year-old daughter

Columbia County Sheriff's Office booking photo ofKhoa Trong Vu
Columbia County Sheriff's Office booking photo ofKhoa Trong Vu

LAKE CITY, Fla. – The tight-knit Lake City community is coming to grips with tragedy after a triple shooting over the weekend left a mother and son dead and a daughter fighting for her life.

According to police, 41-year-old Khoa Vu shot and killed his wife, Tina, and his 14-year-old son, Khoi.

He also shot his 17-year-old daughter, Whit, police said. Whit remained in the hospital Monday and was upgraded from critical to stable condition after surgery, according to the Lake City Police Department.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Khoa Trong Vu
Columbia County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Khoa Trong Vu

Authorities said that Vu (pictured) walked into his home on Jaguar Drive Saturday at 2:30 a.m. and an argument took place between him and his wife. Police said that Vu then shot his wife, Khoi and Whit.

Police said Vu's 23-year-old son, who asked not to be named, ultimately stopped his father and held him down until police arrived.

Students at Columbia High School, which the teens attended, and the Lake City community were in shock Monday. Neighbors said violence like this doesn't happen in their town. Now, they're leaning on each other for support and gathering at the family's nail salon, Lake City Nails, to mourn.

Patty Cooper works in a pizza shop next to the salon.

"The kids were awesome. They were always kind, always laughing and smiling, and they were just awesome. The dad was always really, really nice. The mother, she was great," said Cooper, a family friend. "There was nothing that pointed to any of this. Nothing."

Cooper said the news was heartbreaking.

"I'll just remember all their smiles, their happy faces, just trying anything to make sure they are not forgotten," Cooper said.

Classmates of Khoi and Whit called the teens friendly and intelligent.

"He was a good friend," Selena Johnson said. "He was really kindhearted. Every time I would come to school sad and go through the hall, he always knew I was sad. He would always try to make me laugh or just smile."

"Whit, she was just really nice and kind," Kelsey Fowler said.

School administrators worked with students Monday, bringing in grief counselors to help them cope.

"It is never easy for us to be able to deal with situations such as this. It is always the toughest part of the job," Columbia High Principal Donnie Harrison said. "We have told our teachers that if the students need to talk, just go ahead and take care of that. We will pick up with their curriculum tomorrow."

As the community mourns, residents are showing support for Whit, praying the teen will recover.

"There is a reason she lived -- definitely," Fowler said. "I would definitely tell her that everything is going to be OK and that if she needs anything, that I am here for her and I'm sure everybody else is."

Friends have also started a donation account to raise money for the survivors. To donate, go to gofundme.com/khoilumbiastrong.