By Holly Matkin and Sandy Malone
St. Augustine, FL – Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Deputy Abigail Bieber was fatally shot by her boyfriend while on vacation Jan. 29, according to police.
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.
They were later identified as HCSO Deputy Bieber, 30, and HCSO Detective Daniel Leyden, according to KMOV.
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, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Officials said that a preliminary investigation of the scene indicated that Det. Leyden had been the only one in the room to fire a weapon, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Investigators determined Det. Leyden fatally shot Deputy Bieber before turning the gun on himself, according to KMOV.
The circumstances and motive for the shooting remained under investigation.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the department is “reeling from the shock of this unthinkable tragedy,” KMOV reported.
“Deputy Abigail Bieber was an outstanding law enforcement officer, and by all accounts, an even better person who left a positive impact on every member of her squad and the countless members of our community who she encountered while on patrol,” Sheriff Chronister said. “Violence is never a solution.”
Deputy Bieber joined the HCSO in 2018 and was assigned to the uniform patrol district, KMOV reported.
“This tragedy has left our sheriff’s office family grief-stricken,” the sheriff said. “There is a void within our hearts that can never be filled, but I hope that Deputy Bieber’s legacy will be the way she lived her life, as a selfless servant.”
A law enforcement procession escorted Deputy Bieber’s body from St. Augustine to Clearwater on Wednesday, WFLA reported.
Sheriff Chronister said the fallen deputy “is more than deserving” of the honor.
“We hope that by allowing both our Sheriff’s Office family and the community at large to pay their respects, it will provide some small sense of comfort in this tragedy,” he told WFLA. “She will forever be remembered as a dedicated public servant.”
With the approval of the family, we can confirm Deputy Abigail Bieber as the second deputy found deceased in St. Augustine, FL, on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/DUZeDzeOt0
— Chad Chronister (@ChadChronister) February 1, 2022
— Clearwater Police Department (@myclearwaterPD) February 2, 2022
Sheriff @ChadChronister speaks to the media about Deputy Abigail Bieber. Calls her dedicated, compassionate, and a rising star at HCSO. A procession is headed to the District III office where she served. pic.twitter.com/PQsOSiylX3
— HCSO (@HCSOSheriff) February 2, 2022
— Clearwater Fire & Rescue Department (@clearwaterfire) February 2, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Abigail Bieber, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.