Home Scandal and Gossip Florida Deputy ‘Officer of the year’ kills three relatives then self

Florida Deputy ‘Officer of the year’ kills three relatives then self

Deputy Terry Strawn
Pictured Deputy Terry Strawn with slain family members.
Deputy Terry Strawn
Pictured Deputy Terry Strawn with slain family members.

Deputy Terry Strawn- former Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Officer of the year shoots dead three family members then self. 

A sheriff’s deputy in Florida who murdered three family members before killing himself was once named the agency’s ‘Officer of the Year’ — and was rehired after retiring two years ago to improve security at an elementary school that his youngest victim attended.

Deputy Terry L. Strawn, 58, was named Officer of the Year for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 for his tireless efforts as a lawman, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

‘Deputy Strawn is persistent, leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of the lawbreakers,’ former Sheriff David Gee said at the time. ‘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.’

After joining the department in 1991, Strawn later began working as a jail deputy before joining the agency’s road patrol in 1995. He then retired from the department about two years ago, before being rehired last summer as district officials sought to improve security within Hillsborough County, particularly at elementary schools.

Deputy Terry Strawn: Devoted to the Office he could no longer bare to serve.

Come Wednesday morning, Strawn used his service revolver to fatally shoot his wife, Theresa Strawn, 54, before gunning down his 32-year-old daughter, Courtney, and 6-year-old granddaughter, Londyn, who attended Valrico Elementary School.

After killing his relatives, Strewn announced on the main channel of the agency’s radio system just before 7am that he had ’emergency traffic’ before admitting to killing his relatives and providing directions to where two of the bodies could be found.

Strawn then indicated that he planned on killing himself at Plant City High School, where deputies later found his body just east of the building.

‘During his radio transmission, he talked about how much he loved the Sheriff’s Office,’ Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said.

Deputy Terry Strawn: Finance and health issues

Of note, Strawn also relayed having financial issues and health problems, but no red flags were found pertaining to his finances during a background check conducted last summer as part of his return to the agency.

Strawn and his wife filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, estimating at the time that their assets of less than $50,000 were outpaced by their liabilities. Still, the Strawns had qualified for a mortgage just a year earlier, according to court records cited by The Tampa Bay Times.

Parents at the school where Strawn worked, meanwhile, said they were stunned that a man hired to protect their children would commit such egregious acts of violence.

‘I find that hard to believe because he was such a nice guy,’ one parent told WTSP. ‘I’m in shock.’

Another parent said she had ‘nothing but good things to say’ about Strawn.

Strawn is the second Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office employee in recent months to take his own life after killing a relative. Deputy Kirk Keithley, 39, fatally shot his 33-year-old wife, Samantha, inside their home while their four children were inside on Sept. 24. The Sheriff’s Office has since revealed that all of the agency’s deputies will begin receiving training on how to deal with depression and suicidal thoughts.