2 Florida Sheriff's Deputies in 'Romantic Relationship' Found Dead on Vacation in Suspected Murder-Suicide

A preliminary investigation points to Det. Daniel Leyden, who worked within Hillsborough County's Criminal Investigations Division, as the sole shooter

Police units respond on scene.
Police units respond on scene. Photo: Matt Gush/Getty

Two sheriff's deputies from Hillsborough County, Fla., were found fatally shot in a suspected murder-suicide on Saturday while the pair were sharing a vacation rental in St. Augustine, according to officials.

The deputies, who were confirmed to be in a romantic relationship with each other, were overheard arguing in a bedroom by fellow deputies also on vacation with the couple. A statement from Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reports that the argument was interrupted by the sound of gunshots.

A preliminary investigation found that Det. Daniel Leyden, who worked within the Criminal Investigations Division, was the sole shooter. Investigators said Leyden's wounds appeared to be self-inflicted.

The victim's identity was not provided, but HCSO said in a statement that the deputy was assigned to Uniform Patrol District III. The incident is still under investigation by the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

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"Our Sheriff's Office family is still reeling from the shock of this unthinkable tragedy. My prayers for strength and comfort are with the families and loved ones of these deputies, and every member of Team HCSO affected by this painful loss," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the statement.

"Violence is never a solution, and I urge any employee who is dealing with a crisis to take advantage of the many resources our agency has created over the past several years which include Peer Support, Chaplains, and a clinical psychologist. Help is just a phone call away," he added.

Authorities ask that any additional information regarding the investigation be directed to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office at 904- 824-8304.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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