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Hero Down: Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nickolas Tilliman Dies By Suicide

Gainesville, FL – Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Deputy Nickolas Tilliman died by suicide on Feb. 15, according to his department.

Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson announced the 30-year-old deputy’s death in a press release the following day.

“In the profession of law enforcement there are moments that are truly unimaginable, gut wrenching and that shake you to your core,” Sheriff Watson said. “Yesterday evening our entire law enforcement family felt that moment.”

Sheriff Watson said he was deeply saddened to announce the death of one of the agency’s own deputies.

“Late Yesterday Evening, our team received word that our brother, our friend and your community protector, Deputy Nickolas Tilliman had unexpectedly passed while off duty,” the sheriff continued. “Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are somber.”

Deputy Tilliman’s cause of death was determined to be a suicide, WCJB reported.

In addition to his service with the ACSO’s Patrol Operations Division, Deputy Tilliman was also a “a faithful and courageous soldier within both the United States Navy and the United States Army,” Sheriff Watson said.

Deputy Tilliman joined the U.S. Navy as a gunner’s mate after his high school graduation, according to his obituary.

“Following his naval service, he joined the United States Army Reserves and served as an 88 November Transportation Management Coordinator,” the tribute read.

Deputy Tilliman deployed to Afghanistan shortly after he joined the ACSO five years ago.

He returned to his duties with as a law enforcement officer after his deployment.

Deputy Tilliman leaves behind his parents, his two brothers, and his three nephews.

“During this solemn time, we would ask that you embrace your community’s Law Enforcement Officers as they try to pick up the pieces and continue in their service to you,” Sheriff Watson said. “Deputy Tilliman, ID #1883, you may be gone from this earth, but you will never be gone from our hearts. We have the watch brother.”

Deputy Tilliman was laid to rest on Feb. 21.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nickolas Tilliman, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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