St. Augustine, FL – Two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies are dead in a murder-suicide that occurred late Saturday night while they were on vacation on the opposite side of the state with other members of the sheriff’s department.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJCSO) said sheriff’s deputies responded early on Sunday morning to a call about gunshots fired at a residence in the 5300-block of A1A South in the Butler Beach area, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they found two Hillsborough County deputies dead from gunshot wounds inside a bedroom of a vacation home they had rented with co-workers.
The fellow deputies said the two who died had been in a romantic relationship with each other, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The Hillsborough County deputies told the St. Johns County deputies that they heard their friends arguing in a bedroom, and then a few moments later they heard gunshots.
Officials said that a preliminary investigation of the scene indicated that Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Detective Daniel Leyden had been the only one in the room to fire a weapon, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Det. Leyden was assigned to the sheriff’s department’s Criminal Investigations Division.
The name of the other deputy who died has not yet been released by authorities, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Sources said the second fallen deputy was assigned to Uniform Patrol District III.
The incident was being investigated by SJCSO, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“Tragically, the incident is being investigated as a murder-suicide,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s department told reporters on Sunday. “This is an isolated incident and there is no threat to the public.”
The motive behind the shootings is under investigation, WJXT reported.
“Our Sheriff’s Office family is still reeling from the shock of this unthinkable tragedy,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “My prayers for strength and comfort are with the families and loved ones of these deputies, and every member of Team HCSO affected by this painful loss.”
“Violence is never a solution, and I urge any employee who is dealing with a crisis to take advantage of the many resources our agency has created over the past several years which include Peer Support, Chaplains, and a clinical psychologist. Help is just a phone call away,” Sheriff Chronister added.