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Florida deputy who killed family, self was once named ‘driver of the Year,’ spoke about depression in a call

Terry Strawn, once named “Officer of the Year”, spoke about depression in his last radio broadcast.
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A Florida sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot his wife, daughter and granddaughter before you get the gun on himself was once named “Officer of the Year” and talked about how “the depression was really” during his last radio broadcast to his colleagues Wednesday morning.

Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy Terry Strawn, 58, killed early Wednesday after he fatally shot his wife Theresa Strawn, 54, and granddaughter Londyn Strawn, 6, at their home on the way to a second residence to kill his daughter, Courtney Strawn.

After the triple murder, Strawn got on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the main radio station just after 6:30, and spoke about “how he loved the sheriff’s office”, but was struggling with personal issues themselves, Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a press conference.

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“During his radio broadcast, [he] wanted to make sure that we all cared for each other, that we knew that the depression was. [He] alluded to the fact that he was struggling with some health and financial issues,” Chronister said.

“He indicated that he has everything to lose and at one point said that he had to go,” the sheriff added. “He really appreciate all the help, but he had to go. He wanted to be with his family.”

Three delegates, as well as a communications supervisor on the radio, tried to talk to Strawn of the suicide, but the 58-year-old finally pulled the trigger, while his colleagues in the vicinity of Plant City High School.

Chronister said that there is no evidence Strawn could perform the murder, or that he was struggling. Strawn, who had been with the department since 1991, when retired two years ago and was hired back, was described as a substitute, which receive “glowing” recommendations. He was that he in the summer to help improve safety in the local schools, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“He had done a wonderful job. Phenomenal. When we hired him back, he went through an extensive background and psychological testing,” the sheriff said. “He was an exemplary employee. Once again, he had just learned that we were going to keep him and retain his employment in a permanent status. He was very thankful (and) indicated that ‘Christmas came early.'”

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Strawn was named the “Official of the Year” in 2009 and applause for helping to remove criminals from Florida streets.

“Vice-Strawn is persistent, leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of the law breakers,” then-Sheriff David Gee said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Recently he was arrested, a fugitive and an armed robbery suspect after a traffic stop. His high level of success in the location and capture of many suspects has him this year, the highest honor in the eastern part of Hillsborough County.”

According to local media archives, he and another deputy shot and killed a man in the line of duty in 2004. The man pointed with his metal and plastic tool at the officers as they tried to arrest him during a domestic violence call. Fearing the object was a gun, the deputies fired their weapons.

Chronister said he was briefly interrupted in 1998 for the violation of sheriff’s office property and was disciplined in 2016 for two traffic crashes.

Although there are no financial problems during Strawn’s recent background check, the representative and his wife submitted in 2011 for the protection of the bankruptcy in the federal court.

This is the second time that a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy was involved in a murder-suicide in recent months. On Sept. 24, a deputy killed his wife and then himself, while the couple’s four children were at home.

Following Wednesday’s tragic events, Chronister urged people who are struggling with depression or other problems to ask for help.

“We need to change the culture. We need to make sure that everyone knows that it is ok to ask for help,” the sheriff said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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