Deputies in Florida responded to the scene of a suspected double murder-suicide at a home in Riverview early Wednesday morning. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that it believes Thomas Schultz, 64, murdered his wife and stepdaughter, both of whom were terminally ill, before calling 911 on himself and telling a dispatcher he intended to take his own life.
During a livestreamed press conference on the investigation, Sheriff Chad Chronister quoted Schultz as telling a dispatcher as follows: “We are in an impossible situation with no way out. Pease send someone to secure the residence.”
“I have to go, I’m fixin’ to shoot myself,” Schultz also told the dispatcher, according to the sheriff. Authorities believe Schultz then shot himself with a revolver on the back porch of the Graham Yarden Drive home.
The sheriff said the firearm was found next to Schultz’s body.
“He was very direct and blunt with what he wanted to say,” the sheriff said of Schultz’s 911 call.
Authorities said that both victims were found shot and killed in beds.
Chronister said it’s believed that Schultz’s wife, identified as a woman in her 80s, was “killed while she was sleeping.” The suspecter shooter’s stepdaughter was found “in a hospital bed with a feeding tube hooked up to her.”
She was in her 50s.
“Both appeared to suffer from fatal gunshot wounds to the upper body. According to relatives, both women had terminal illnesses,” a press release from the sheriff’s office said. “In addition to being in a hospital-style bed, the daughter was hooked to a feeding tube.”
The sheriff noted that no one in the home had a criminal history.
There was “nothing out of the ordinary that would be a red flag to us,” Chronister said.
One reporter asked if the victims were killed prior to the 911 call. The sheriff said that’s what investigators believe currently, but Chronister cautioned that further investigation is ongoing.
“We’ll figure that out,” he said.
Chronister said the incident should be a reminder that “[t]here is no such thing as an ‘impossible situation.’”
“There is always hope, and there is always help,” he said. “This tragedy has occurred during the month of May, Mental Health Awareness Month. I am urging anyone in crisis to please seek help. There are a number of resources available in our community, including the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. Simply call 211.”
The sheriff also revealed the impact that the phone call had on the dispatcher.
Chronister said the 911 call was “extremely difficult” for the dispatcher because she had “just lost a family member — a loved one — recently to suicide.”
[Image via Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]
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