PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Hillsborough County Florida Sheriff’s Office is investigating the apparent murder-suicide by its deputy.
Authorities say the deputy killed three family members, including his wife Theresa Strong, 6-year-old granddaughter London Strong and daughter Courtney Strong.
The deputy, later identified as 58-year-old Terry Strong, then took his own life.
It happened shortly before 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday in Plant City, east of Tampa.
According to the local sheriff, the deputy announced the killings on the police radio before claiming he would kill himself at Plant City High School.
A supervisor on the radio attempted to convince the deputy not to harm himself.
“During his radio transmission he talked about how much he loved the sheriff’s office as they were trying to talk to him,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister. “He did allude to the fact that he had some type of financial and health issues.
“We’re not aware of it. We’re not able to confirm that, but he did allude to that. So I certainly would like to mention that.”
Three other deputies responded to an area near the high school where they found the deputy. They also tried to convince him not to harm himself, but the deputy committed suicide in front of them.
According to Sheriff Chronister, the deputy retired two years ago but was hired back for security at an elementary school.
He had been with the department for more than 25 years. The sheriff says there were no signs the deputy would cause any harm.
“I’m here today, I’m saddened but I’m also disheartened. Disheartened that a Hillsborough Deputy Sheriff would ever, ever cause harm to another individual,” said Chronister on Wednesday.
WFLA reports that this is the second time in recent months that a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputy has killed a family member before committing suicide.
In September, a deputy killed his wife while the couple’s for children were in their home.
During the news conference Wednesday, Chronister urged people to seek help if they feel they might harm themselves. He added that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
“We all struggle, we all struggle at one point or another in our lives,” Chronister said. “But there is help available. Please, I’m begging.”