Lakeland man dies from self-inflicted gunshot following standoff, daughter safe

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A Lakeland man died Sunday afternoon from a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a standoff that lasted more than 24 hours. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters that 39-year-old Gary Cauley died at the scene.

Cauley’s six-year-old daughter had been inside the home during most of the standoff, but was released by her father prior to the shooting. 

Deputies said Cauley showed up at his estranged wife's home on Dartmouth Road early Saturday morning and argued with her throughout the morning.

Around 1 p.m. Saturday, Cauley's estranged wife called 911 after he armed himself with a gun and threatened to kill himself. Judd said that Cauley was not legally allowed to have a gun. 

When deputies arrived at the home, the wife came out to meet them, but Cauley would not. He remained inside the home with the couple's 6-year-old daughter until Sunday afternoon.

Deputies attempted to negotiate with Cauley for more than 24 hours, all while he threatened to kill himself.

"He would tell us yes, I'm coming out," said Sheriff Judd. "I'm putting on my shoes, and this narrative went on for about 24 hours."

Just before 1:30 p.m., Cauley told his six-year-old daughter to go outside with deputies where she would be safe. He also told her he was going to kill himself, according to Judd. 

Cauley eventually came to the front window with a gun pointed in his mouth and shot him self. Deputies attempted to provide medical care but he died at the scene. 

Neighbors who knew the family are in shock about how it all ended. 

"It's kind of sad to end that way," said neighbor Rich Horzenpa. "It's good to know that fortunale.y, the little gir is safe and I heard she didn't have to witness any of that stuff."

Cauley was on probation and listed as a violent offender, according to Judd.