A Florida sheriff’s deputy radioed his department early Wednesday morning to report he’d just killed three family members before he killed himself in front of three fellow deputies who pleaded with him not to do it.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Strawn, 58, fatally shot his wife, Theresa Strawn, 54, and their granddaughter, Londyn Strawn, 6, at the Plant City home he shared with them before driving to daughter Courtney Strawn’s house and shooting her to death.
Upon all three killings, Deputy Strawn radioed the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Department and confessed to killing his family because he was struggling with health and financial troubles. Deputy Strawn gave 911 his location. As responding deputies approached the suspect they urged him to drop the weapon, WQAD News reports.
It was then that Deputy Strawn killed himself with a gunshot to the head.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told reporters there were no warning signs:
“He had a phenomenal reputation throughout the sheriff’s office. No indication whatsoever that this deputy would conduct himself in the manner he did.”
Deputy Strawn and his wife filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in 2011. They listed debts totaling more than $57,000 and assets of just over $36,000.
Deputy Strawn, who returned to the force this year as a school security deputy after retiring in 2017, showed no evidence of financial or health issues during a background check. Court records show Deputy Strawn and his wife qualified for a mortgage and bought a house this year.
The killings by Deputy Strawn mark the second time this year that a Hillsborough deputy killed a loved one before taking his own life. In September, Kirk Keithley shot and killed his wife Samantha before taking his own life.
In 2004, Deputy Strawn and another deputy shot and killed a man while responding to a domestic violence call. The man pointed a metal and plastic tool at the deputies as they tried to arrest him, according to news accounts of the incident. Fearing the object was a gun, the deputies fired their weapons.
Deputy Strawn was named an Officer of the Year in 2009. Sheriff’s officials cited his work in removing dangerous criminals from the streets.