Kirk Keithley, a Florida sheriff’s deputy shot and killed his 33-year-old wife Samantha and then turned the gun on himself while the couple’s’ four children were inside their house Sunday night.
Police received a 911 call from a 14-year-old boy just midnight. It was Keithley’s son running from the house calling to report a shooting a Land-O-Lakes house. His own. The three other children, two young girls and an elementary school-age boy were still in the house.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said in a pre-dawn press conference Monday about the murder-suicide to “pray for the children.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Keithley, 39, Was a Sheriff’s Deputy for Nearly 10 Years & Before that a City Police Officer for 6 Years
Around midnight, police received a 911 call from a boy running from the house who said he heard an argument and then a shot fired. and when they responded to the house on Terrazzo Way, they found Samantha dead on a couch downstairs. POlice went upstairs and found the three kids safe and Keithley with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said the couple each had one child from a previous relationship and then two children together with the eldest 14.
Nocco said Keithley did not use his sheriff’s department-issued gun and he said there was no record of previous calls for service to the house.
Keithley was hired by the HCSO in June of 2009. He’d been a police officer with the city of St. Pete since 2003.
Nocco called “domestic violence a horrendous act” adding that “anyone who goes from protecting people to harming people loses the right to call themselves a law enforcement officer….”
2. Samantha’s Best Friend Got a Text That Night Saying ‘Kirk Has Lost His Mind’
Kristin Kellin told local media, and shared a screenshot as evidence, that Samantha had texted her Sunday.
“Kirk has lost his mind Kristen. He’s literally losing it. He has been harassing me for the last 6 hours. And I’ve asked him repeatedly to leave me alone because I’m sick. I chucked my ring outside.”
In a Facebook post, Kellin said, “There are not enough words to express how sad I am today. My best friend was murdered and taken away from her babies out of a senseless act of selfishness. My heart breaks for her son Mark and two daughters Alivia and Avalyn. She was an insanely dedicated mother and sister! She wasn’t just a sister to her brother Taylor, but to myself as well. She was there for me through thick and thin and I’m incredibly saddened that I can’t help her now,” she wrote.
“My heart hurts so much. Say a prayer for her babies, say a prayer because they are without a mother now and that is the saddest thing I can possibly imagine.”
Kellim told local media she was not aware of anything that would “indicate to me or any of our other close friends that she was… that this would happen.”
3. Samantha Keithley’s Social Media Shows a Happy Mom & Wife But Also a Full Life With Work & Friends
Samantha Keithley was once a nursing student, was a manager at Tampa-based Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and then began a career as a Realtor working for Keller Williams Realty. A GoFundMe has been set up for her children by the company and has raised more than $35,000 in one day.
Samantha’s Facebook is filled with photos of her children and she and her friends. And the day before her husband killed her, she posted a video from a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game she attended with her children.
4. Kirk Keithley’s Facebook Page Opens a Small Window Into His Life
Now a legacy page for friends to “celebrate” Keithley’s life, his previous posts include photos of his and his wife’s 2016 trip to New Orleans.
He and his wife Samantha were frequent rock concert-goers and the family went to Tampa Bay Lightning hockey games. Keithley had also recently posted a photo of all four children. But he’d also uploaded a cover photo very recently that might be described as unusual.
5. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister Said the Murder-Suicide By His Deputy Was ‘Impossible to Comprehend’
“Unfortunately last night, one of our deputies was involved in a tragic event where he took his wife’s life and then his own. I cannot begin to express how disheartened I am. Domestic Violence has no place in our society.
I ask that everyone join me and the rest of our office and pray for those innocent children who are left behind and have to pick up the pieces. This is something that is impossible to comprehend for even the most seasoned person. Please keep them in your hearts as we all try to make our way through this tragedy.”
Monday, Chronister made an appeal on Facebook for people living with domestic violence, and people who need help before they hurt someone, to reach out.
“…no matter what you or your loved ones may be going through, there is always help and a better way forward. We are and will remain a strong Sheriff’s Office family. These are more than just words, I along with the entire command staff remain committed to helping anyone that may be dealing with a difficult situation,” he wrote.
“Take the time to recognize the signs of someone who may be struggling and offer them help. We all experience difficult times in our lives, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I implore anyone who may need help to just ask. We are here for you and will always be here for you. No matter how insignificant or insurmountable the situation may seem, together we will get through it, as a family. I ask that everyone join with me in prayer for the innocent children who are left behind and our Sheriff’s Office family who may find this tragedy impossible to understand.”