ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A vacation ended in tragedy in St. Augustine after the death of two Florida deputies in what official say was a domestic-violence related murder-suicide.
Officials with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office say four of their deputies were sharing a vacation rental near Crescent Beach Sunday when two of them began arguing. Soon after, the other two heard the fatal gunshots.
Police were in Kieran Wallace's front yard when he got home from work Sunday morning.
“At that point it was a little bit alarming and then about 30 minutes later we got a phone call that said we needed to lock our doors and say inside," Kieran Wallace, a neighbor, said.
Officials say Hillsborough County Detective Daniel Leyden was the sole shooter. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, killing his co-worker. Officials say the two were romantically involved, highlighting the problem of domestic violence in law enforcement relationships.
The National Center for Women and Policing’ cites a study from 1990 which found that at least 40 percent of police officer families experience domestic violence.
"It's hard to it's hard to get definitive rates, you know, because it's something like, all the way across the board, even with civilian population, it's rampant everywhere," law enforcement counselor Dr. Tina Jaeckle said. "Sadly that is the case. You know, again, behind the scenes, I do think stressors play a part in this."
Jaeckle says offering crisis management resources to deputies is especially important after an tragedy like this one.
"Any kind of loss of a colleague is going to have a significant impact, not only on their mindset, but their grieving process," Jaeckle explained. “Hillsborough County has a phenomenal team, which are typically some of their colleagues who have been trained in how to provide emotional support and assistance and connect to other resources."
The sheriff’s office is offering peer support, chaplains and a clinical psychologist to deputies.
The sheriff's office said in a statement: “Our Sheriff's Office family is still reeling from the shock of this unthinkable tragedy.”