Terry Strawn is a Florida sheriff’s deputy who killed his wife, his daughter, and his granddaughter before taking his own life, police said.
Strawn, who was named Deputy of the Year at the Hillsborough County sheriff’s office, announced that he had murdered his family over a police radio before committing suicide, The Tampa Bay Times reported.
Three deputies found Strawn, 58, and pleaded for him not to take his own life before he shot himself.
The sheriff’s office identified the victims as his 54-year-old wife Theresa, 32-year-old daughter Courtney, and 6-year-old grandaughter Londyn.
“I’m saddened,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister. “But I’m also disheartened that a sheriff’s deputy would ever cause harm to another individual.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Terry Strawn Announced He Killed His Family Over Police Radio
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that Strawn announced he had murdered his wife, daughter, and granddaughter over police radio just before 7 am on Wednesday.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Strawn told officers where to find the bodies and added that he planned to kill himself at Plant City High School, which was near the murder scenes.
“During his radio transmission, he talked about how much he loved the Sheriff’s Office,” Chronister said.
2. Terry Strawn Carried Out the Murders at 2 Separate Locations
Strawn carried out the killings in two different locations, though sheriff’s officials did not specify where.
Strawn was encountered by deputies at Plant City High School, where he killed himself.
Officials said no students or school staff were in the area at the time of the shooting.
“This morning my cousin, Deputy Terry Strawn, killed his wife, daughter, and granddaughter, then killed himself,” Strawn’s cousin Jimmy Strawn wrote on Facebook. “We are truly devastated and are still trying to wrap our heads around it.”
“Please,” Jimmy Strawn pleaded, “if you are considering suicide, REACH OUT!! We would have done ANYTHING for Terry, Theresa, Courtney, and little Londyn. We miss you and love you all.”
3. Deputies Tried to Stop Terry Strawn Before He Took His Own Life
The Tampa Bay Times reports that a communications supervisor tried to talk Strawn out of killing himself over the police radio.
Shortly after, deputies found Strawn just east of Plant City High School and pleaded for him to not take his own life.
“They did everything possible to try to convince this deputy sheriff that there was a different way,” Chronister said.
4. Sheriff Says Financial and Health Problems May Have Led to Killings
According to Chronister, Strawn had made “allusions” to financial and health problems.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Strawn and his wife had qualified for a mortgage and bought a home earlier this year.
In 2011, the couple filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court. According to The Times, the couple estimated their assets at less than $50,000, with liabilities that were greater than that amount. They listed a Jeep, two trucks, and boat, and a 9mm Smith & Wesson gun as their assets.
5. Strawn Had Been With The Sheriff’s Office Since 1991
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Strawn had been with the department since 1991 when he joined as a jail deputy and later joined road patrol in 1994.
In 2004, he and another deputy fatally shot a man who is said to have pointed a metal and plastic tool at the deputies as they tried to arrest him for domestic violence. The deputies believed the object was a gun.
In 2009, he was named Officer of the Year.
“Deputy Strawn is persistent, leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of the lawbreakers,” then-Sheriff David Gee said. “Recently he arrested a fugitive and an armed robbery suspect after a traffic stop. His high rate of success in the location and capture of numerous suspects has earned him this year’s top honor in east Hillsborough County.”
Strawn retired two years ago but rejoined the department as part of the sheriff’s partnership with the Hillsborough school district after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Strawn was assigned as a resource officer at Valrico Elementary Elementary school, where his granddaughter Londyn was a student.
“There has been absolutely no indication of any type of behavioral issues,” Chronister said. “Glowing recommendations, job evaluations. No indication whatsoever … that this deputy would conduct himself in the manner he did.”
If you’re thinking about suicide or worried about someone who might be, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a local crisis center. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by messaging 741741. Police officers can text the word BLUE.
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